The inflammatory response initiated upon burn injury is also associated with extensive metabolic adjustments. While there is a significant body of literature on the characterization of these changes at the metabolite level, little is known on the mechanisms of induction, especially with respect to the role of gene expression. We have comprehensively analyzed changes in gene expression in rat livers during the first 7 d after 20% total body surface area burn injury using Affymetrix microarrays. A total of 740 genes were significantly altered in expression at 1, 2, 4, and 7 d after burn injury compared to sham-burn controls. Functional classification based on gene ontology terms indicated that metabolism, transport, signaling, and defense/inflammation response accounted for more than 70% of the significantly altered genes. Fisher least-significant difference post-hoc testing of the 740 differentially expressed genes indicated that over 60% of the genes demonstrated significant changes in expression either on d 1 or on d 7 postburn. The gene expression trends were corroborated by biochemical measurements of triglycerides and fatty acids 24 h postburn but not at later time points. This suggests that fatty acids are used, at least in part, in the liver as energy substrates for the first 4 d after injury. Our data also suggest that long-term regulation of energy substrate utilization in the liver following burn injury is primarily at the posttranscriptional level. Last, relevance networks of significantly expressed genes indicate the involvement of key small molecules in the hepatic response to 20% total body surface area burn injury.