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In order to further elucidate the possible contribution of leukocytes to microvascular injury during reperfusion following total hepatic ischemia, we studied the spatial relationship between areas of white cell accumulation and areas of microvascular damage in the rat liver in vivo. No-flow hepatic ischemia was produced for 90 min in vivo and during the ensuing reperfusion phase (I/R) leukocyte accumulation, absolute number of perfused sinusoids per unit area, and red blood cell velocity were quantitated using in vivo epi-fluorescence video microscopy. The total number of stationary leukocytes in the liver during reperfusion was found to be significantly elevated following ischemia compared to time-matched sham-operated controls. In addition, by 2 hr of reperfusion, approximately 80% of the leukocytes in the I/R group were extravascular compared to only about 50% in the controls. When leukocyte accumulation and microhemodynamics were expressed on the basis of whole liver, the increased accumulation of leukocytes was associated with decreased microvascular perfusion as indicated by decreased number of sinusoids perfused and decreased red blood cell velocity. However, when the data were analyzed on the basis of .05mm2 microscopic fields on the surface of the liver, there was no difference in leukocyte accumulation in areas with sinusoidal blood flow compared to areas that were devoid of perfused sinusoids. Moreover, in a correlation analysis of number of adherent leukocytes/microscopic field vs red blood cell velocity in perfused sinusoids in that field, only a very small negative correlation between leukocytes/field and red blood cell velocity was found (r = -.23, p < .05). These results demonstrate that at the whole organ level leukocyte accumulation appears to correlate well with microvascular damage; however, this increase in whole liver accumulation of leukocytes does not necessarily reflect accumulation at sites of overt microvascular damage. Thus, leukocyte-independent factors are likely to be of considerable quantitative importance in microvascular injury during reperfusion following hepatic ischemia.


Journal article


Int J Microcirc Clin Exp

Publication Date





45 - 60


Animals, Ischemia, Leukocyte Count, Liver, Male, Microcirculation, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Reperfusion Injury, Video Recording