Hemorrhagic shock is a leading cause of death in people under the age of 45 and accounts for almost half of trauma-related deaths. In order to develop a treatment strategy based on potentiating mitochondrial function, we investigated the effect of the orphan drug dichloroacetate (DCA) on survival in an animal model of hemorrhagic shock in the absence of fluid resuscitation. Hemorrhagic shock was induced in rats by withdrawing 60% of the blood volume and maintaining a hypotensive state. The studies demonstrated prolonged survival of rats subjected to hemorrhagic injury (HI) when treated with DCA. In separate experiments, using a fluid resuscitation model we studied mitochondrial functional alterations and changes in metabolic networks connected to mitochondria following HI and treatment with DCA. DCA treatment restored cardiac mitochondrial membrane potential and tissue ATP in the rats following HI. Treatment with DCA resulted in normalization of several metabolic and molecular parameters including plasma lactate and p-AMPK/AMPK, as well as Ach-mediated vascular relaxation. In conclusion we demonstrate that DCA can be successfully used in the treatment of hemorrhagic shock in the absence of fluid resuscitation; therefore DCA may be a good candidate in prolonged field care following severe blood loss.
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