The role of adipose tissue in ICU-acquired weakness
Prolonged critically ill patients frequently develop muscle wasting and weakness of limb and respiratory muscles, termed critical illness-induced or intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired weakness. Mechanisms underlying this debilitating condition are complex, affecting both muscles and nerves. Whereas hypercatabolism in these patients induces loss of muscle mass, counterintuitively, adipose tissue is preserved or even increased during prolonged critical illness. In addition, having excess adipose tissue when entering the ICU seems beneficial, as overweight and obese critically ill patients have the highest chance of survival. Hence, in this doctoral thesis, we aimed to identify processes that are differently affected by critical illness in lean and overweight/obese patients, and could explain the benefit of entering the ICU with excess adipose tissue.