Neutrophil and Kupffer cell-induced oxidant stress and ischemia-reperfusion injury in rat liver

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology




3 23-3




Glutathione; Glutathione disulfide; Reactive oxygen


The hypothesis that Kupffer cells and infiltrating neutrophils generate reactive oxygen in the hepatic sinusoids and may contribute to ischemia-reperfusion injury in the liver was investigated in a model of partial no-flow ischemia and reperfusion in male Fischer rats in vivo. During the reperfusion period of 60 min, plasma concentrations of glutathione disulfide (GSSG; index of oxidant stress) increased from 1.62 ± 0.20 μM glutathione (GSH) equivalents to maximal values of 11.82 ± 1.45 (45 min ischemia), 24.19 ± 2.35 (60 min ischemia), and 70.20 ± 7.8 (120 min ischemia). The basal tissue GSSG content in the postischemic lobes (0.19 ± 0.02 nmol GSH eq/mg protein) increased by 50-100%. Although the number of neutrophils in liver and lung increased by 3- to 10-fold during reperfusion, there was no positive correlation between the number of neutrophils and the GSSG concentrations measured in plasma or tissue. However, activation of Kupffer cells with high doses of retinol or with Propionibacterium acnes significantly enhanced plasma GSSG levels, while inactivation of Kupffer cells with methyl palmitate or gadolinium chloride significantly attenuated the increase of plasma GSSG. Inactivation of Kupffer cells protected the liver significantly against ischemia-reperfusion injury. It is concluded that Kupffer cells are the predominant source of reactive oxygen formed during the initial reperfusion period and that Kupffer cell activity (including reactive oxygen formation) contributes to reperfusion injury in the liver in vivo.

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