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J Surg Res. 2003 Feb;109(2):155-60.

Reduction of hepatic ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury by a specific ROCK/Rho kinase inhibitor Y-27632.

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Department of Gastroenterological Surgery, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.



The low-molecular-weight GTPase Rho is known to act as a molecular switch by activating several downstream effectors, one of which is Rho-associated coiled-coil forming protein kinase (ROCK). ROCK/Rho kinase mediates cytoskeleton-dependent cell functions, such as actomyosin-based smooth muscle contraction and integrin-mediated cell adhesion. A specific inhibitor of ROCK/Rho kinase, Y-27632, was recently developed. The present study examined whether Y-27632 could provide a beneficial effect on hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R)-induced injury through the attenuation of microcirculatory disturbance.


In male Sprague-Dawley rats, normothermic partial ischemia was induced by clamping the hepatic pedicle to the left and median lobes for 90 min, followed by 2 h of reperfusion. In the treatment group, Y-27632 was intravenously administered prior to ischemic insult. Hepatic microcirculation was investigated by using intravital fluorescence microscopy. Liver enzyme release and histological changes of the liver tissue were also evaluated.


Y-27632 significantly improved sinusoidal perfusion and reduced the number of leukocytes sticking in hepatic sinusoids and adhering in postsinusoidal venules. The postischemic narrowing of both sinusoids and postsinusoidal venules was also markedly suppressed. Consequently, liver enzyme release was reduced and postischemic histological damage was suppressed.


A specific ROCK/Rho kinase inhibitor, Y-27632, was useful to alleviate hepatic I/R-induced injury through ameliorating postischemic microcirculation. The administration of Y-27632 may be a novel strategy for conquering hepatic I/R-induced injury.

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