Down-regulation of glutatione S-transferase ? 4 (hGSTA4) in the muscle of thermally injured patients is indicative of susceptibility to bacterial infection. Academic Article uri icon


  • Patients with severe burns are highly susceptible to bacterial infection. While immunosuppression facilitates infection, the contribution of soft tissues to infection beyond providing a portal for bacterial entry remains unclear. We showed previously that glutathione S-transferase S1 (gstS1), an enzyme with conjugating activity against the lipid peroxidation byproduct 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE), is important for resistance against wound infection in Drosophila muscle. The importance of the mammalian functional counterpart of GstS1 in the context of wounds and infection has not been investigated. Here we demonstrate that the presence of a burn wound dramatically affects expression of both human (hGSTA4) and mouse (mGsta4) 4HNE scavengers. hGSTA4 is down-regulated significantly within 1 wk of thermal burn injury in the muscle and fat tissues of patients from the large-scale collaborative Inflammation and the Host Response to Injury multicentered study. Similarly, mGsta4, the murine GST with the highest catalytic efficiency for 4HNE, is down-regulated to approximately half of normal levels in mouse muscle immediately postburn. Consequently, 4HNE protein adducts are increased 4- to 5-fold in mouse muscle postburn. Using an open wound infection model, we show that deletion of mGsta4 renders mice more susceptible to infection with the prevalent wound pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, while muscle hGSTA4 expression negatively correlates with burn wound infection episodes per patient. Our data suggest that hGSTA4 down-regulation and the concomitant increase in 4HNE adducts in human muscle are indicative of susceptibility to infection in individuals with severely thermal injuries.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012