Evaluation of the reperfusion syndrome after liver ischemia in the rat

Annalisa Barbieri, Franco Zonta, Maria L. Saracino, Giuseppina Dondi, Pietro Frattini, Adele Lucchelli, Mariagrazia Santagostino, Gianluigi D'Agostino, Marcello O. Maestri, Aris Zonta

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Hepatic surgery in man often requires a transient interruption of the blood flow to the liver. After the vascular declamping the hepatic reperfusion induces a group of phenomena commonly called 'reperfusion injuries.' The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence and effect of vasoactive agents that could induce the acute pulmonary arterial hypertension which contributes to reperfusion injury. Wistar rats were used. The hepatic ischemia was induced by cross-clamping the whole hepatic hilus for 20, 40, and 60 min. In control experiments a sham operation was performed. Blood samples were collected from the suprahepatic inferior vena cava. Strips of the main pulmonary artery were set up in an isolated organ bath and tested for the response to noradrenaline, adrenaline, KCl, and plasma samples. Plasma levels of catecholamines were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. Plasma concentration of noradrenaline significantly increased from 1.6 ± 0.4 (control) to 10.8 ± 2.9 ng · ml-1 and adrenaline concentration rose from 2.7 ± 0.7 to 38.7 ± 7.6 ng · ml-1 after ischemia. Noradrenaline potency, compared to control values, significantly increased after prolonged liver ischemia. The plasma samples collected after prolonged liver ischemia caused a greater contraction of the pulmonary artery than from control plasma. This contraction is partially inhibited by phentolamine. We conclude that hepatic ischemia modifies the response of the pulmonary artery to exogenous noradrenaline. At the same time it induces an increase in the plasma levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. The resulting combined effect may cause the pulmonary hypertension which has been observed in reperfusion injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-158
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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