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J Clin Invest. 1990 Jun; 85(6): 1936–1943.
PMCID: PMC296661

Role of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in the pathophysiologic alterations after hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury in the rat.


Cytokines are recognized as critical early mediators of organ injury. We attempted to determine whether or not severe hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury results in tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) release with subsequent local and systemic tissue injury. After 90 min of lobar hepatic ischemia, TNF was measurable during the reperfusion period in the plasma of all 14 experimental animals, with levels peaking between 9 and 352 pg/ml. Endotoxin was undetectable in the plasma of these animals. Pulmonary injury, as evidenced by a neutrophilic infiltrate, edema and intra-alveolar hemorrhage developed after hepatic reperfusion. The neutrophilic infiltrate was quantitated using a myeloperoxidase (MPO) assay; this demonstrated a significant increase in MPO after only 1 h of reperfusion. Anti-TNF antiserum pretreatment significantly reduced the pulmonary MPO after hepatic reperfusion. After a 12-h reperfusion period, there was histologic evidence of intra-alveolar hemorrhage and pulmonary edema. Morphometric assessment showed that pretreatment with anti-TNF antiserum was able to completely inhibit the development of pulmonary edema. Liver injury was quantitated by measuring serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase which showed peaks at 3 and 24 h. Anti-TNF antiserum pretreatment was able to significantly reduce both of these peak elevations. These data show that hepatic ischemia/reperfusion results in TNF production, and that this TNF is intimately associated with pulmonary and hepatic injury.

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