During ischemia-reperfusion an imbalance between endothelin (ET) and nitric oxide (NO) can be responsible for microcirculatory disturbances. The aim of this study was to restore the ET/NO balance to reduce the ischemia-reperfusion injury. Hepatic ischemia was induced for 30 min in 56 Wistar rats. Sham operation, ischemia and treatment groups with the ET receptor antagonist (ERA) bosentan (1 mg/kg body weight i.v.) and the NO donor L-arginine (400 mg/kg body weight i.v.) were performed. For evaluation of hepatic microcirculation in vivo microscopy was carried out 30-90 min after reperfusion. Local hepatic tissue PO2, laser Doppler flow and aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase (AST/ALT) levels were measured. Increased ET caused sinusoidal constriction after reperfusion to 76% of the sham group (p < 0.05), leading to significant decrease in perfusion rate (82%), liver tissue PO2 (6.9 mmHg) and erythrocyte flux (45.2% of sham group). Hepatocellular damage could be detected 6 h after reperfusion by AST/ALT increase (p < 0.05). Sinusoidal diameters were maintained at baseline in the ERA (98%) and NO (102%) groups (p < 0.05). Increased percentage of leukocytes sticking in sinusoids (144%) and venules (435%) was reduced by therapy to 110/253% (ERA) and 111/324% (NO), respectively (p < 0.05). Perfusion rate was increased to 93 and 94% (p < 0.05 vs ischemia). Local hepatic tissue PO2 was improved 30 min after reperfusion in the ERA (11.0 mmHg) as well as in the NO group (11.5 mmHg; p < 0.05 vs ischemia). Measurement with a laser Doppler flow meter revealed significant improved erythrocyte flux in both therapy groups (p < 0.05 vs ischemia). Also, the post-ischemic AST/ALT increase was reduced by therapy. In conclusion, ET evokes strong constriction of post-ischemic sinusoids, leading to microcirculatory disturbances. The maintenance of the ET/NO balance by blocking ET receptors, or providing an NO donor, protects liver microcirculation and reduces hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury.
*Second Department of Surgery, and †Department of Ophthalmology University of Leipzig, Germany, and ‡Department of General Surgery-Surgical Research, Westfaelische Wilhelms-University of Muenster, Germany
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr med. Dirk Uhlmann, University of Leipzig, Department of Surgery, Liebigstrasse 20a, 04103 Leipzig, Germany. E-mail: [email protected]
© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.