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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of brain death and glucose infusion on hepatic glycogen and blood hormones in the pig.

We wished to study the effects of intravenous glucose/ insulin infusion to brain-dead pigs on the hepatic glycogen content. Four groups of 40-kg pigs were studied: brain-dead and control pigs given isotonic saline or glucose/insulin (7.5 mg glucose/kg/min, 1.25 mU insulin/kg/ min) (n = 5 to 10 in each group). Brain death was induced by inflating a balloon placed in the epidural space. In brain-dead pigs given saline, liver glycogen decreased from 45 +/- 11 mmol/g DNA (mean +/- SEM) to 7 +/- 3 mmol/ g DNA after 6 hours. Thereafter, it increased to 28 +/- 9 mmol/g DNA after 9 hours (P = .05 compared with the 6-hour measurement). These changes were accompanied by transient increases in plasma adrenaline, glucose, free fatty acids (FFA), and glucagon. Following glucose/ insulin infusion, hepatic glycogen increased steadily and was approximately double after 12 hours (P < .01) in both brain-dead and in non-brain-dead pigs. In brain-dead pigs, the increases in the aforementioned blood measurements were smaller following glucose/insulin infusion than following saline infusion. However, studies of longer duration will be needed to examine these effects on a time scale that is relevant to human organ donors. In conclusion, the decrease in hepatic glycogen content after brain death could be prevented by intravenous glucose/insulin infusion probably because of a reduction of the adrenaline response to the induction of brain death.[1]


  1. Effects of brain death and glucose infusion on hepatic glycogen and blood hormones in the pig. Roelsgaard, K., Botker, H.E., Stodkilde-Jorgensen, H., Andreasen, F., Jensen, S.L., Keiding, S. Hepatology (1996) [Pubmed]
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