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Epinephrine produces a prolonged elevation in metabolic rate in humans

Epinephrine produces a prolonged elevation in metabolic rate in humans

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 68(5): 1046-1052

Background: Epinephrine increases the metabolic rate and contributes to the hypermetabolic state in severe illness. Objective: We sought to determine the effect of prolonged elevation of epinephrine on resting energy expenditure (REE). Design: Thirteen healthy men were placed on a well-defined diet for 5 d. Beginning on the morning of the second diet day, the subjects were infused for 24 h with saline, then for 23 h with epinephrine (0.18 nmol cntdot kg-1 cntdot min-1) to increase plasma epinephrine concentrations into the high physiologic range (4720 +- 340 pmol/L). REE and the respiratory quotient (RQ) were measured by indirect calorimetry in the postabsorptive state at the same time every morning. Results: Infusion of epinephrine significantly increased heart rate and systolic blood pressure, but the response was transient (values after 23 h of epinephrine infusion were not significantly different from those on the day saline was infused). Infusion of epinephrine significantly increased REE by 12% and increased the RQ. These changes were apparent at the end of the 23-h infusion (REE: 97.5 +- 2.3 kJcntdotkg-1cntdotd-1 with saline infusion and 108.9 +- 2.3 kJcntdotkg-1cntdotd-1 with epinephrine infusion; RQ: 0.832 +- 0.012 with saline infusion and 0.879 +- 0.013 with epinephrine infusion). REE returned to baseline by 24 h after the epinephrine infusion ended, but the postabsorptive RQ remained modestly elevated. Infusion of epinephrine also produced a transient increase in urine flow and in urinary nitrogen excretion. This diuresis was compensated for by a drop in urine volume and nitrogen excretion after the epinephrine infusion was stopped. Conclusions: Epinephrine produced a prolonged increase in REE in healthy subjects. The fuel for this increase in RFE, determined by the RQ, was from increased carbohydrate oxidation, not from that of fat or protein.

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Accession: 003127737

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PMID: 9808221

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