Decreased lung ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats after preoperative administration of cyclosporine and tacrolimus

B. Krishnadasan, B. Naidu, M. Rosengart, A. L. Farr, A. Barnes, E. D. Verrier, M. S. Mulligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Objectives: Calcineurin inhibitors reduce experimental reperfusion injury in the liver, brain, heart, kidney, and small bowel. These studies were undertaken to determine whether these agents are similarly protective against lung ischemia- reperfusion injury. Methods: Left lungs of male rats were rendered ischemic for 90 minutes and reperfused for as long as 4 hours. Treated animals received cyclosporine A (INN: ciclosporin; 1 or 5 mg/kg) or tacrolimus (0.2 mg/kg) 6 hours before ischemia, at reperfusion, or 2 hours after reperfusion. Injury was quantitated in terms of tissue polymorphonuclear leukocyte accumulation (myeloperoxidase content), vascular permeability (iodine 125-labeled bovine serum albumin extravasation), and bronchoalveolar lavage leukocyte content. Separate tissue samples were processed for nuclear protein and cytokine messenger RNA. Results: Treatment with cyclosporine (5 mg/kg) or tacrolimus (0.2 mg/kg) 6 hours before reperfusion reduced lung vascular permeability by 54% and 56% relative to control animals (P < .03). The protective effects of cyclosporine and tacrolimus treatment before reperfusion correlated with 42% and 43% reductions in tissue polymorphonuclear leukocyte (myeloperoxidase) content (P < .008) and marked reductions in bronchoalveolar lavage leukocyte accumulation (P < .01). Administration of cyclosporine or tacrolimus at the time of reperfusion or 2 hours into the reperfusion period offered little or no protection. Animals treated before reperfusion also demonstrated marked reductions in nuclear factor κB activation and expression of proinflammatory cytokine messenger RNA. Conclusion: Cyclosporine and tacrolimus treatment before reperfusion was protective against lung ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats. The mechanism of these protective effects may involve the inhibition of nuclear factor κB, a central transcription factor mediating inflammatory injury. The decreased expression of cytokine messenger RNA indicates that both cyclosporine and tacrolimus may exert their protective effects at the pretranscriptional level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-767
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002


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