Various metabolic, cellular, and subcellular alterations in cell function and morphology occur during shock or low-flow conditions. In attempting to find treatment programs that would be beneficial following shock, various substrates have been used. Infusion of hypertonic glucose during shock has been shown to improve survival; however, it is unlikely that the effect of glucose is by provision of energy until the circulation is restored. Infusion of glucose--insulin--potassium during shock has also been reported to be beneficial in certain clinical situations. Controversies exist concerning the efficacy of infusions of cyclic AMP, nicotinamide, and Krebs cycle intermediates during shock. Pretreatment of kidneys with inosine or raising glycogen stores of the myocardium have been shown to have protective effects of kidneys and myocardium during ischemia and these procedures may be suitable for organ preservation. Pretreatment with allopurinol has been shown to be beneficial in shock; however, it is unlikely that allopurinol by itself if given following shock would have any salutary effects. Treatment with ATP-MgCl2 has been shown to be beneficial following hemorrhagic shock, sepsis, endotoxin shock, burns, postischemic hepatic failure, and postischemic renal failure. Thus, provision of energy directly in the form of ATP during adverse circulatory conditions appears to be the most advantageous and direct method for the treatment of shock.