Background: Poor nutrition status is common among hospitalized children and children in low‐income countries and may be associated with increased susceptibility to edema and infections. We hypothesized that poor nutrition status, established with a suboptimal composition of parenteral nutrition (PN), predisposes to endotoxemia‐induced edema, oxidative stress, and dysregulated immune responses. Methods: Using a 2 × 2 factorial design, 3‐day‐old piglets (n = 40) were given either optimal or suboptimal composition of PN for 7 days and then infused with either saline or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 9 hours to induce an acute‐phase reaction. Abdominal tissue edema and blood markers of immunity, inflammation, and oxidative stress were assessed. Results: Piglets receiving suboptimal nutrition showed signs of malnutrition with restricted growth, signs of inflammation (elevated C‐reactive protein [CRP], interleukin‐6, and serum amyloid A levels), oxidative stress (lower erythrocyte glutathione/hemoglobin and α‐tocopherol/cholesterol ratios), and liver dysfunction (increased liver weight and blood bilirubin levels). Perirenal edema was more excessive in malnourished LPS‐infused animals, relative to healthy LPS‐infused control animals (P < .01). Malnutrition reduced the inflammatory response to LPS (lower CRP, tumor necrosis factor‐α, haptoglobin, and neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio) but did not influence LPS‐induced oxidative stress markers. Conclusions: We conclude that endotoxemia and malnutrition in combination lead to acute‐phase hyporesponsiveness and perirenal edema in piglets. This finding may have implications for pediatric patients that suffer from malnutrition, as their response to bacterial infections may differ substantially from patients of normal nutrition status.
- Oxidative stress