ABSTRACT: Hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury has immediate and deleterious effects on the outcome of patients after liver surgery. The precise mechanisms leading to the damage have not been completely elucidated. However, there is substantial evidence that the generation of oxygen free radicals and disturbances of the hepatic microcirculation are involved in this clinical syndrome. Microcirculatory dysfunction of the liver seems to be mediated by sinusoidal endothelial cell damage and by the imbalance of vasoconstrictor and vasodilator molecules, such as endothelin (ET), reactive oxygen species (ROS), and nitric oxide (NO). This may lead to no-reflow phenomenon with release of proinflammatory cytokines, sinusoidal plugging of neutrophils, oxidative stress, and as an ultimate consequence, hypoxic cell injury and parenchymal failure. An inducible potent endogenous mechanism against ischemia/reperfusion injury has been termed ischemic preconditioning. It has been suggested that preconditioning could inhibit the effects of different mediators involved in the microcirculatory dysfunction, including endothelin, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and oxygen free radicals. In this review, we address the mechanisms of liver microcirculatory dysfunction and how ischemic preconditioning could help to provide new surgical and/or pharmacological strategies to protect the liver against reperfusion damage.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine 12/2002; 33(9):1200-8. · 5.42 Impact Factor