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The effects of L-arginine and iloprost on the viability of random skin flaps in rats.

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Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Ankara University School of Medicine, Turkey.


The effects of an intravenous infusion of L-arginine as a physiological precursor of endothelium-derived relaxing factor/nitric oxide (EDRF/NO), iloprost (a stable prostacyclin (PGI2) analogue), and L-arginine combined with iloprost on skin viability were studied in 9 x 3 cm random pattern skin flaps in rats. Intravenous infusion of all drugs was started at the beginning of the operation and continued for 60 minutes. At the end of infusion period the depth of fluorescein dye penetration in the skin flap was assessed visually from photographic records, and the flap survival area was measured by the grid method at the seventh postoperative day. There was a significant reduction in distal necrosis of random skin flaps after intravenous infusion of L-arginine, iloprost, and L-arginine combined with iloprost (p < 0.01). Possible mechanisms that may be responsible for impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilation and vasospasm in the microvasculature of random skin flap and their prevention with L-arginine and iloprost include restoration of the depleted stores of NO which in turn causes vasodilatation and has an antithrombotic effect.

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