Time course of leukocyte response and free radical release in an early reperfusion injury of the superior mesenteric artery
The sequence of changes in circulating immune cells and in free radical production was studied during the small intestine reperfusion. Rat small intestine ischemia/reperfusion was induced by a 45 min superior mesenteric artery occlusion followed by a 4-hour reperfusion. Samples of peripheral blood were collected every 20 min during reperfusion. While the number of polymorphonuclear leukocytes increased significantly both in the sham-operated controls and the experimental group (about 400% at the end of reperfusion), a decrease in lymphocyte counts to 60% was observed in the experimental group only. Although there were no changes in the counts of total T lymphocytes, a significant reduction in B cell counts was observed. Flow-cytometrical measurements showed no changes in the Tc subpopulation, while the Th subpopulation increased in the experimental group only. Free radical generation in blood (luminometric measurements) increased gradually and reached an eight-fold level by the end of reperfusion in both groups. Thus, it has been shown that the increase in free radical production is mainly due to the increased number of polymorphonuclear leukocytes mobilized already at the initial stages of reperfusion. The reduction in B lymphocyte population is probably due to homing mechanisms.