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J Surg Res. 1997 Nov;73(1):14-23.

Effects of different durations of total warm ischemia of the gut on rat mesenteric microcirculation.

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Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), University Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands.



Gut injury due to ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) plays a pivotal role in many clinical conditions, such as small bowel transplantation, heart or aortic surgery in adults, and necrotizing enterocolitis in neonates. The influence of ischemic events on microcirculatory mechanisms is not well understood. Therefore, we studied, in vivo, local perfusion and leukocyte-vessel wall interactions before and after different periods of total warm ischemia of the whole gut and subsequent reperfusion in mesenteric microvessels.


Groups of pentobarbital-anaesthetized Lewis rats were subjected to 15 (n = 9), 30 (n = 12), or 60 min (n = 5) of total warm gut ischemia and 2 h reperfusion. As control a sham group (n = 10) was included. After ligating the inferior mesenteric artery, total warm ischemia was induced by clamping the superior mesenteric artery. Before and at different time periods after start of reperfusion intravital video microscopic measurements were performed.


Rats subjected to 60 min ischemia died during the early reperfusion phase. Fifteen, 30, and 60 min ischemia induced in venules a significant decrease in blood flow, while diameter changes were not observed. This flow decrease was severe in the 15- and 30-min ischemia groups, dropping to 40 and 25% of control, respectively. Following 60 min ischemia blood flow did not exceed 10% of control. The total number of interacting leukocytes, a parameter which includes both leukocyte rolling and adhesion in venules, increased up to 5 or 10 times its control value following 15 or 30 min ischemia, respectively. Leukocyte-vessel wall interactions could not be studied in the 60-min ischemia group, due to the low blood flow.


Even short periods of total warm ischemia of the whole gut induce severe attenuation of venular blood flow with an increase in leukocyte-vessel wall interactions. These changes increase with prolongation of the ischemic period. A 60-min period of total warm ischemia is fatal during the early reperfusion phase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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