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J Surg Res. 1997 May;69(2):429-34.

Role of exogenous L-arginine in hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury.

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First Department of Surgery, University of Ryukyu, School of Medicine, Okinawa, Japan.


Plasma L-arginine is usually deficient immediately after hepatic reperfusion in orthotopic liver transplantation, which may also contribute to the occurrence of either hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury or pulmonary hypertension. In this study, exogenous L-arginine was thus experimentally used to reverse the deficient status of the L-arginine/NO pathway. An in vivo model of 1 hr hepatic ischemia and reperfusion was thus tested in both rats (Experiment A) and pigs (Experiment B). In Experiment A, 10 mg/kg of L-arginine (group 1, n = 7), D-arginine (group 2, n = 7), or saline (group 3, n = 7) was administered through the portal vein. The hepatic tissue blood flow, at 20 min after reperfusion, improved in group 1 (70.7 +/- 7.0% of the preclamp levels) compared to groups 2 and 3. The serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase levels at 24 hr after reperfusion were also lower in group 1 (320 +/- 22.2 IU/L) than in either group 2 or group 3. The intrahepatic NO levels showed a temporal burst (> 15,000 pA current) after reperfusion only in group 1. In Experiment B, 10 mg/kg of L-arginine (group 4, n = 5), D-arginine (group 5, n = 5), or 10 ml of saline (group 6, n = 5) was administered through the portal vein. In group 4, the MPAP (mean pulmonary arterial pressure)/MAP (mean arterial pressure) was lower than that observed in groups 5 and 6. In conclusion, exogenous L-arginine administered from the portal vein was thus found to be effective in mitigating both portal hypertension and reperfusion injury by producing an increased amount of NO immediately after reperfusion.

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