Haemorrhagic mucosal lesions are produced during intestinal ischaemia and after reperfusion probably mediated by oxygen radicals. Oxygen radicals react with cell membrane lipids and induce cell damage by peroxidation and induce accumulation of polymorphonuclear leucocytes in the tissue. The aim of the study was to elucidate the involvement of polymorphonuclear leucocytes in post-ischaemic intestinal damage. Intestinal ischaemia was induced in cats by partial occlusion of the superior mesenteric artery. Samples from the small intestine were excised before and at the end of the two hour hypotensive period as well as 10 minutes and 60 minutes after reperfusion. Conjugated dienes, myeloperoxidase, and the purine metabolites were determined in the samples. The tissue was also examined histologically. Seven cats were treated before reperfusion with a monoclonal antibody (IB4) which inhibits leucocyte adherence to endothelial cells and its subsequent activation. After reperfusion myeloperoxidase activity increased and the ischaemic mucosal lesions worsened significantly. IB4 treatment prevented an increase in post-hypotensive myeloperoxidase activity and attenuated the normally observed severe mucosal lesions. We conclude that the severe post-ischaemic lesions are induced by polymorphonuclear leucocytes. Such mucosal injury may be appreciably reduced by blocking leucocyte adherence with IB4.
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