Alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone in critically injured trauma patients.

S. Rob Todd, Lillian S. Kao, Anna Catania, David W. Mercer, Sasha D. Adams, Frederick A. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) is a neuropeptide which modulates inflammation. Prior studies have documented decreased alpha-MSH concentrations in patients with acute traumatic brain injury and subarachnoid hemorrhage. We hypothesized that alpha-MSH levels would be decreased in critically injured patients and that this would correlate with poor outcome. METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected data more than 12 months ending December 2005. alpha-MSH concentrations were measured in major torso trauma patients (excluding severe head injuries) who underwent standardized shock resuscitation. alpha-MSH concentrations were measured every 4 hours for the first 24 hours of intensive care unit admission and daily thereafter for hospital days 2 to 5. Controls were similarly aged, healthy volunteers. Outcomes measured included lengths of stay, infectious morbidity, and the incidence of multiple organ failure (MOF) and mortality. RESULTS: Fifty-one trauma patients were studied with a median age of 33 (22-54) years. Seventy-five percent were male and 82% sustained blunt trauma. The median Injury Severity Score was 25 (16-34). Eighteen percent of the patients developed MOF, 18% died, and 24% developed MOF and died. The mean initial (first value on the first day) alpha-MSH concentration was significantly lower than in controls (15.9 pg/mL +/- 7.6 pg/mL vs. 26.1 pg/mL +/- 7.4 pg/mL, p = 0.0008) and did not change significantly during the 5-day study period. On univariate and adjusted multivariate analyses, initial alpha-MSH concentrations did not predict either MOF or mortality. CONCLUSIONS: The current study is the first to document significantly decreased alpha-MSH concentrations in critically injured trauma patients as compared with controls. Furthermore, alpha-MSH concentrations remained so throughout the study period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-469
Number of pages5
JournalThe Journal of trauma
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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