Iodine Redistribution During Trauma, Sepsis, and Hibernation: An Evolutionarily Conserved Response to Severe Stress

Crit Care Explor. 2020 Sep 30;2(10):e0215. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000215. eCollection 2020 Oct.


Objective: We performed these studies to learn how iodine in the form of free iodide behaves during stress.

Design: Prospective observational trial using samples obtained from human trauma patients and retrospective observational study using remnant samples from human sepsis patients and arctic ground squirrels. Preclinical interventional study using hind-limb ischemia and reperfusion injury in mice.

Setting: Level I trauma center emergency room and ICU and animal research laboratories.

Subjects: Adult human sepsis and trauma patients, wild-caught adult arctic ground squirrels, and sexually mature laboratory mice.

Interventions: Ischemia and reperfusion injury was induced in mice by temporary application of tourniquet to one hind-limb. Iodide was administered IV just prior to reperfusion.

Measurements and main results: Free iodide was measured using ion chromatography. Relative to iodide in plasma from normal donors, iodide was increased 17-fold in plasma from trauma patients and 26-fold in plasma from sepsis patients. In arctic ground squirrels, iodide increases over three-fold during hibernation. And during ischemia/reperfusion injury in mice, iodide accumulates in ischemic tissue and reduces both local and systemic tissue damage.

Conclusions: Iodide redistributes during stress and improves outcome after injury. Essential functions of iodide may have contributed to its evolutionary selection and be useful as a therapeutic intervention for human patients.

Keywords: hibernation; iodine; sepsis; stress; trauma.