Preterm infants are susceptible to bloodstream infection by coagulase-negative staphylococci (CONS) that can lead to sepsis. Glucose-rich parenteral nutrition is commonly used to support the infants’ growth and energy expenditure but may exceed endogenous regulation during infection, causing dysregulated immune response and clinical deterioration. Using a preterm piglet model of neonatal CONS sepsis induced by Staphylococcus epidermidis (S. epidermidis) infection, we demonstrate the delicate interplay between immunity and glucose metabolism to regulate the host infection response. Circulating glucose levels, glycolysis, and inflammatory response to infection are closely connected across the states of tolerance, resistance, and immunoparalysis. Furthermore, high parenteral glucose provision during infection induces hyperglycemia, elevated glycolysis, and inflammation, leading to metabolic acidosis and sepsis, whereas glucose-restricted individuals are clinically unaffected with increased gluconeogenesis to maintain moderate hypoglycemia. Finally, standard glucose supply maintaining normoglycemia or pharmacological glycolysis inhibition enhances bacterial clearance and dampens inflammation but fails to prevent sepsis. Our results uncover how blood glucose and glycolysis control circulating immune responses, in turn determining the clinical fate of preterm infants infected with CONS. Our findings suggest further refinements of the current practice of parenteral glucose supply for preterm infants during infection.
Tik Muk, Anders Brunse, Nicole L. Henriksen, Karoline Aasmul-Olsen, Duc Ninh Nguyen