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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2008 Jun;294(6):G1431-40. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00083.2008. Epub 2008 Apr 24.

Use of a hanging-weight system for liver ischemic preconditioning in mice.

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  • 1Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Ischemic preconditioning (IP) represents a powerful experimental strategy to identify novel molecular targets to attenuate hepatic injury during ischemia. As a result, murine studies of hepatic IP have become an important field of research. However, murine IP is technically challenging, and experimental details can alter the results. Therefore, we systematically tested a novel model of hepatic IP by using a hanging-weight system for portal triad occlusion. This system has the benefit of applying intermittent hepatic ischemia and reperfusion without manipulation of a surgical clamp or suture, thus minimizing surgical trauma. Systematic evaluation of this model revealed a close correlation of hepatic ischemia time with liver damage as measured by alanine (ALT) and aspartate (AST) aminotransferase serum levels. Using different numbers of IP cycles and times intervals, we found optimal liver protection with four cycles of 3 min ischemia/3 min reperfusion as measured by ALT, AST, lactate dehydrogenase, and interleukin-6. Similarly, ischemia-associated increases in hepatic infarct size, neutrophil infiltration, and histological injury were maximally attenuated with the above regimen. To demonstrate transcriptional consequences of liver IP, we isolated RNA from preconditioned liver and confirmed transcriptional modulation of known target genes (equilibrative nucleoside transporters, acute-phase complement genes). Taken together, these studies confirm highly reproducible liver injury and protection by IP when using the hanging-weight system for hepatic ischemia and intermittent reperfusion. Further studies of murine IP may consider this technique.

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