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World J Gastroenterol. 2004 Jan;10(1):73-6.

Protective effect of nitric oxide induced by ischemic preconditioning on reperfusion injury of rat liver graft.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery, Huaxi Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, Shichuan Province, China.



Ischemic preconditioning (IP) is a brief ischemic episode, which confers a state of protection against the subsequent long-term ischemia-reperfusion injuries. However, little is known regarding the use of IP before the sustained cold storage and liver transplantation. The present study was designed to evaluate the protective effect of IP on the long-term preservation of liver graft and the prolonged anhepatic-phase injury.


Male Sprague-Dawley rats were used as donors and recipients of orthotopic liver transplantation. All livers underwent 10 min of ischemia followed by 10 min of reperfusion before harvest. Rat liver transplantation was performed with the portal vein clamped for 25 min. Tolerance of transplanted liver to the reperfusion injury and liver damage were investigated. The changes in adenosine concentration in hepatic tissue and those of nitric oxide (NO) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in serum were also assessed.


Recipients with IP significantly improved their one-week survival rate and liver function, they had increased levels of circulating NO and hepatic adenosine, and a reduced level of serum TNF, as compared to controls. Histological changes indicating hepatic injuries appeared improved in the IP group compared with those in control group. The protective effect of IP was also obtained by administration of adenosine, while blockage of the NO pathway using Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester abolished the protective effect of IP.


IP appears to have a protective effect on the long-term preservation of liver graft and the prolonged anhepatic-phase injuries. NO may be involved in this process.

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