Burn injuries are associated with strong inflammation and risk of secondary sepsis which both may affect the function of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). The aim of this study was to determine GR expression and binding capacity in leucocytes from patients admitted to a tertiary burn center.
Blood was sampled from 13 patients on admission and days 7, 14 and 21, and once from 16 healthy subjects. Patients were grouped according to the extent of burn and to any sepsis on day 7. Expression and binding capacity of GR were determined as arbitrary units using flow cytometry.
GR expression and binding capacity were increased compared to healthy subjects in most circulating leucocyte subsets on admission irrespective of burn size. Patients with sepsis on day 7 displayed increased GR expression in T lymphocytes (51.8%, P < 0.01) compared to admission. There was a negative correlation between GR binding capacity in neutrophils and burn size after 14 days (P < 0.05).
GR expression and binding capacity are increased in most types of circulating leucocytes of severely burned patients on their admission to specialized burn care. If sepsis is present after 1 week, it is associated with higher GR expression in T lymphocytes and NK cells.
2016. Vol. 60, no 2, 213-221 p.