Lung preconditioning with N-acetyl-L-cysteine prevents reperfusion injury after liver no flow-reflow: A dose-response study

Avi A. Weinbroum*, Yoram Kluger, Ron Ben Abraham, Itzhak Shapira, Ela Karchevski, Valery Rudick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Circulating xanthine oxidase activity and the generated oxidants have been linked to lung reperfusion injury from no flow-reflow conditions in other organs after organ transplantation or surgery. N-acetyl-1-cysteine (NAC), an oxidant scavenger, promotes glutathione in its reduced form (GSH) that is depleted during ischemia. We have recently demonstrated its efficacy in protecting lungs from reperfusion injury if administered during reperfusion of postischemic liver. We now investigated whether preconditioning of lungs with NAC could attenuate lung respiratory or vascular derangement after no flow-reflow (ischemia-reperfusion, IR) and if this depends on lung GSH levels. Methods. Rat isolated livers were stabilized and perfused with modified Krebs-Henseleit solution (KH) (control, n=12) or made ischemic (no flow, IR-0, n=12) for 2 hr. Meanwhile, lungs were isolated, ventilated, and stabilized (KH+bovine albumin 5%). Serial perfusion (15 min) of liver+lung pairs took place followed by lung only recirculation (45 min) with the accumulated solution. Another three controls and three ischemic groups included lungs treated during stabilization with NAC at 100 mg·kg-1, 150 or 225 mg·kg-1 (in 2.5, 3.7 or 5.5 mmol solutions, respectively). Results. Ischemic liver damage, expressed by circulating hepatocellular constituents, was associated with pulmonary artery and ventilatory pressure increases by 70-100% of baseline, abnormal wet-to-dry weight ratio, and abnormal bronchoalveolar lavage volume and content in the IR-0 (nontreated) and the IR-100 and IR-225 pretreated lungs. NAC-150 pretreatment afforded preservation for most parameters. GSH content in the IR-150 lung tissue was only 11% higher than that of IR-225, but 2-fold that in IR-0 and IR-100 GSH lungs. Conclusion. Lung preconditioning with NAC prevents reperfusion injury but not in a dose-related manner. Although enhanced GSH tissue content explains lung protection, GSH-independent NAC activity is another possibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes


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