Exogenous and endogenous nitric oxide but not iNOS inhibition improves function and survival of ischemically injured livers

F. A. Rivera-Chavez, L. H. Toledo-Pereyra, R. E. Dean, L. Crouch, P. A. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The role of nitric oxide (NO) in liver ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury remains controversial and few works have shed more information regarding the effect of exogenous (EX) and/or endogenous NO (EN) under conditions of I/R of the liver. We investigated the role of exogenous and endogenous NO and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) inhibition in liver function, neutrophil infiltration, and animal survival after liver I/R. Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to total hepatic ischemia for 90 min using an extracorporeal porto-systemic shunt. The animals were divided into five groups, including the sham porto-systemic shunt with no ischemia, the control ischemic group, the L-arginine-treated group, the sodium nitroprusside (SNP or NaNP)-treated group, and the L-N6-(1-iminoethyl) lysine hydrochloride (L-NIL) (selective iNOS inhibitor)-treated group. The animal survival was followed for 7 days. Liver injury tests, tissue myeloperoxidase (MPO), and histology were analyzed at 6 h postreperfusion. L-Arginine- and sodium nitroprusside-treated groups demonstrated significant improvement in 7 days survival in comparison to the control (20%) (p < .05). The best overall survival was obtained with SNP (70%), followed by survival in the L-arginine treated group (60%). The iNOS inhibitor group (40%) did not show any statistical significance when compared to the control group (p > .05). Liver injury tests and histology scores in the SNP- and L-arginine-treated groups showed significant improvement when compared to the control group (p < .01 and p < .05, respectively). The iNOS group demonstrated only a slight improvement in these parameters. The liver MPO (as a measurement of neutrophil migration into the liver parenchyma) was significantly decreased only in the SNP and L-arginine groups (p < .05) but not in the iNOS group (p > .5). We conclude that NO exogenous donors and substrates for the endogenous pathway are beneficial for the liver after severe I/R and could be important therapeutic targets to prevent damage following this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Investigative Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • L-arginine
  • Liver ischemia and reperfusion
  • Nitric oxide
  • Sodium nitroprusside
  • iNOS selective inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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