Infusion fluids contain harmful glucose degradation products

Intensive Care Med. 2010 Jul;36(7):1213-20. doi: 10.1007/s00134-010-1873-x. Epub 2010 Apr 16.


Purpose: Glucose degradation products (GDPs) are precursors of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that cause cellular damage and inflammation. We examined the content of GDPs in commercially available glucose-containing infusion fluids and investigated whether GDPs are found in patients' blood.

Methods: The content of GDPs was examined in infusion fluids by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis. To investigate whether GDPs also are found in patients, we included 11 patients who received glucose fluids (standard group) during and after their surgery and 11 control patients receiving buffered saline (control group). Blood samples were analyzed for GDP content and carboxymethyllysine (CML), as a measure of AGE formation. The influence of heat-sterilized fluids on cell viability and cell function upon infection was investigated.

Results: All investigated fluids contained high concentrations of GDPs, such as 3-deoxyglucosone (3-DG). Serum concentration of 3-DG increased rapidly by a factor of eight in patients receiving standard therapy. Serum CML levels increased significantly and showed linear correlation with the amount of infused 3-DG. There was no increase in serum 3-DG or CML concentrations in the control group. The concentration of GDPs in most of the tested fluids damaged neutrophils, reducing their cytokine secretion, and inhibited microbial killing.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that normal standard fluid therapy involves unwanted infusion of GDPs. Reduction of the content of GDPs in commonly used infusion fluids may improve cell function, and possibly also organ function, in intensive-care patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Critical Care / methods
  • Drug Contamination
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy / methods*
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Glucose / analysis*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / blood*
  • Humans
  • Isotonic Solutions / chemistry
  • Male
  • Neutrophils / drug effects
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions / chemistry*
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic / chemistry
  • Sterilization


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Isotonic Solutions
  • Pharmaceutical Solutions
  • Saline Solution, Hypertonic
  • Glucose