The role of nitric oxide and cell adhesion molecules on the microcirculation in ischaemia-reperfusion

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The microcirculation undergoes a profound degree of endothelial dysfunction within minutes (i.e., 2.5 to 5 min) following reperfusion of ischaemic vasculature. This has been documented in the coronary and mesenteric microcirculation. The endothelial dysfunction is characterized by a loss in basal and agonist-mediated nitric oxide (NO) produced by the vascular endothelium. The loss of NO results in upregulation of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) particularly P-selectin 10-20 min following reperfusion. Thus, CAM upregulation renders the endothelium sticky, and a marked degree of leukocyte adherence (particularly neutrophils) occurs 20 min following reperfusion. This enhanced involvement of neutrophils leads to neutrophil infiltration into the underlying tissue (e.g., myocardium) within 2-3 h of reperfusion. The infiltration of neutrophils leads to reperfusion injury (i.e., necrosis) which is significant at 3 h but becomes profound at 4.5 h following reperfusion. Cardiac necrosis can be significantly attenuated by treatment with NO, an organic NO donor, L-arginine, or specific blockers of CAMs given just prior to reperfusion. This approach is a promising one for a variety of types of reperfusion injury.




Lefer, A. M., & Lefer, D. J. (1996, October). The role of nitric oxide and cell adhesion molecules on the microcirculation in ischaemia-reperfusion. Cardiovascular Research.

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