The hypothesis that intracellular generation of reactive oxygen species in hepatocytes or reticuloendothelial cells may cause ischemia-reperfusion injury was tested in isolated perfused livers of male Fischer rats. GSSG was measured in perfusate, bile, and tissue as a sensitive index of oxidative stress. After a preperfusion phase of 30 min, the perfusion was stopped (global ischemia) for various times (30, 120 min) and the liver was reperfused for another 60 min. The bile flow (1.48 +/- 0.17 microliters/min X gram liver weight), the biliary efflux of total glutathione (6.54 +/- 0.94 nmol GSH eq/min X g), and GSSG (1.59 +/- 0.23 nmol GSH eq/min X g) recovered to 69-86% after short-term ischemia and to 36-72% after 2 h of ischemia when compared with values obtained from control livers perfused for the same period of time. During reperfusion, the sinusoidal efflux of total glutathione (16.4 +/- 2.1 nmol GSH eq/min X g) and GSSG (0.13 +/- 0.05 nmol GSH eq/min X g) did not change except for an initial 10-30-s increase during reperfusion washout. No increased GSSG secretion into bile was detectable at any time during reperfusion. The liver content of total glutathione (32.5 +/- 3.5 nmol GSH eq/mg protein) and GSSG (0.27 +/- 0.09 nmol GSH eq/mg protein) did not change significantly during any period of ischemia or reperfusion. We conclude, therefore, that at most only a minor amount of reactive oxygen species were generated during reperfusion. Thus, reactive oxygen species are unlikely to cause ischemia/reperfusion injury in rat liver by lipid peroxidation or tissue thiol oxidation.
H Jaeschke, C V Smith, J R Mitchell