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Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) is associated with organ failure and infectious complications after major burn injury. Recent evidence has linked melanocortin signaling to anti-inflammatory and wound-repair functions, with mutations in the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene leading to increased inflammatory responses. Our group has previously demonstrated that MC1R gene polymorphisms are associated with postburn hypertrophic scarring. Thus, we hypothesized that MC1R single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) would be associated with increased burn-induced SIRS and increased infectious complications. We performed a retrospective cohort study of adults (>18 y of age) admitted to our burn center with >20% total body surface area (TBSA) partial/full thickness burns between 2006 and 2013. We screened for five MC1R SNPs (V60L, V92M, R151C, R163Q, T314T) by polymerase chain reaction from genomic DNA isolated from blood samples. We performed a detailed review of each patient chart to identify age, sex, race, ethnicity, %TBSA burned, burn wound infections (BWIs), and 72-hr intravenous fluid volume, the latter a surrogate for a dysfunctional inflammatory response to injury. Association testing was based on multivariable regression. Of 106 subjects enrolled, 82 had complete data for analysis. Of these, 64 (78%) were male, with a median age of 39 and median burn size of 30% TBSA. A total of 36 (44%) subjects developed BWIs. The median total administered IV crystalloid in first 72h was 24.6 L. In multivariate analysis, the R151C variant allele was a significant independent risk factor for BWI (adjusted prevalence ratio 2.03; 95% CI: 1.21-3.39; P = 0.007), and the V60L variant allele was independently associated with increased resuscitation fluid volume (P = 0.021). This is the first study to demonstrate a significant association between genetic polymorphisms and a nonfatal burn-induced SIRS complication. Our findings suggest that MC1R polymorphisms contribute to dysfunctional responses to burn injury that may predict infectious and inflammatory complications. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Damien W Carter, Ravi F Sood, Max E Seaton, Lara A Muffley, Shari Honari, Ann M Hocking, Saman A Arbabi, Nicole S Gibran. MC1R gene polymorphisms are associated with dysfunctional immune responses and wound infection after burn injury. The Journal of surgical research. 2018 Nov;231:448-452

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PMID: 30278967

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