In humans, plasma fibronectin decreases early after operative injury, burn, or trauma, followed by a rapid restoration with a secondary decline typically observed if such patients become septic. We determined the rate of plasma fibronectin and plasma fibrinogen synthesis in normal subjects and injured patients using a stable isotope incorporation technique with [15N]glycine. During a constant 14-h infusion of [15N]glycine, the enrichment of [15N]glycine in both the free plasma glycine precursor pool as well as the urinary hippurate pool was determined; the latter used as an estimate of intracellular hepatic precursor enrichment. [15N]Glycine enrichment in both plasma fibronectin and fibrinogen was also quantified. The synthesis rate (Js/V) expressed in micrograms per milliliter of plasma per hour and the fractional synthesis rate (FSR) expressed as percentage of the plasma pool produced per day were determined. In normal subjects, the FSR for plasma fibronectin using 15N enrichment into urinary hippurate was 35.35 +/- 1.46%/d, whereas the Js/V was 4.45 +/- 0.19 micrograms/ml plasma per h. In normal subjects, the FSR for plasma fibronectin using 15N enrichment into free plasma glycine was 14.73 +/- 0.63%/d, whereas the Js/V was 1.98 +/- 0.09 micrograms/ml plasma per h. Early (2-3 d) after burn injury, fibronectin synthesis was increased (Js/V = 5.74 +/- 0.36; P less than 0.05), whereas later after injury, fibronectin synthesis began to decline (Js/V = 3.52 +/- 0.24; P less than 0.05) based on 15N enrichment of urinary hippurate. In contrast, the Js/V and FSR of plasma fibrinogen, a well-documented acute-phase plasma protein, revealed a sustained elevation (P less than 0.05) after injury in both the trauma and burn patients. Thus, plasma fibronectin synthesis is elevated early postinjury, which may contribute to the rapid restoration of its blood level. However, once fibronectin levels have normalized, the synthesis of plasma fibronectin appears to decline.
C Thompson, F A Blumenstock, T M Saba, P J Feustel, J E Kaplan, J B Fortune, L Hough, V Gray