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Ann Surg. 2002 Mar;235(3):400-7.

Comparison of ischemic preconditioning and intermittent and continuous inflow occlusion in the murine liver.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.



To compare protection of the liver by ischemic preconditioning and intermittent inflow occlusion in a mouse model of prolonged periods of ischemia.


Preconditioning (short ischemic stress prior to a prolonged period of ischemia) and intermittent inflow occlusion protect the liver against reperfusion injury. This is the first study comparing these two modalities with continuous inflow occlusion (control).


Mice were subjected to 75 or 120 minutes of 70% hepatic ischemia and 3 hours of reperfusion. Each ischemic period was evaluated using three different protocols: continuous ischemia (control), preconditioning (10 minutes ischemia and 15 minutes reperfusion) prior to the prolonged ischemic insult, and intermittent clamping (cycles of 15 minutes ischemia and 5 minutes reperfusion). Organ injury was evaluated using serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), hematoxylin and eosin staining, and specific markers of apoptosis (cytochrome C release, caspase 3 activity, and TUNEL staining). Animal survival was determined using a model of total hepatic ischemia.


Intermittent inflow occlusion and ischemic preconditioning were both protective against ischemic insults of 75 and 120 minutes compared with controls (continuous ischemia only). Protection against 75 minutes of ischemia was comparable in the intermittent clamping and the ischemic preconditioning group, whereas intermittent clamping was superior at 120 minutes of ischemia. One hundred percent animal survival was observed after 75 minutes of total hepatic ischemia using both protective protocols, whereas all animals subjected to continuous ischemia died after surgery. After 120 minutes of ischemia, intermittent inflow occlusion was associated with better animal survival (71%) compared with preconditioning (14%).


Preconditioning and intermittent clamping are both protective against prolonged periods of ischemia. In the clinical setting, preconditioning is superior for ischemic periods of up to 75 minutes because it is not associated with blood loss during transection of the liver. However, for prolonged ischemic insults exceeding 75 minutes, intermittent clamping is superior to preconditioning.

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