A severe burn is characterized by the development of hyperenzymatic levels in plasma and biochemical changes in the blood as well as generalized hormonal dysregulation. This hypercatabolic state reflects the generalized enhanced proteolytic enzyme systems following severe burns. Since anuria often develops in the first hour following severe burns, we investigated the role of renal vasoactive peptides in the early events following severe scalding in order to know the extent of their involvement in the pathogenesis of deranged renal function. Male Wistar rats weighing 200 to 300 g were subjected to a 25% surface area burn by immersing their shaved dorsal surface in water at 70°C for 60 seconds under pentobarbital anaesthesia. A reduction in urinary kallikrein excretion was found (P<0.05) while the renal cortex kallikrein activity remained normal one hour after scalding. An increase in plasma renin activity (P<0.05) and a marked increase in plasma beta-endorphin concentration (P<0.005) was observed. Blood pressure was reduced in the experimental group (P<0.05). Hematocrit levels were elevated (P<0.001) and haemoglobinuria was evident in the first one hour. Plasma proteins remained unchanged. A significant reduction of urine volume was observed in the first hour (P<0.01). Plasma potassium was elevated (P<0.001) and its urinary excretion was reduced (P<0.01). The high plasma renin activity and the enhanced plasma concentration of beta-endorphin suggest that in the first hour following severe burns, hormonal derangements are mainly responsible for abnormal renal hemodynamics.
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