The Journal of Surgical Research vol:146 issue:2 pages:177-183
BACKGROUND: Lungs donated after cardiac death (DCD) may significantly reduce current organ shortage. However, the warm ischemic period following circulatory arrest may enhance ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). We investigated the possible therapeutic effect of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), a potent anti-oxidative agent on IRI in a porcine ex vivo lung reperfusion model. MATERIALS AND METHODS: NAC (50 mg/kg) was nebulized to pigs (n = 6/group) prior to sacrifice (NAC-DCD). In DCD-NAC, animals received NAC 15 min after death. Control animals did not receive an aerosol (DCD). Interleukin (IL)-1beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-8, lactate dehydrogenase activity and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances were measured and cells were counted in broncho-alveolar lavage from the right lung after a 3-h warm plus 1-h cold ischemic interval. RESULTS: There were no differences in cells between groups, however cell death was lower in NAC-DCD (10.3 +/- 1.5%) and DCD-NAC (7.83 +/- 1.8%) compared to DCD (18.0 +/- 3.8%). IL-1beta levels (111.5 +/- 28.8 pg/mL and 92.2 +/- 51.0 pg/mL versus 250.3 +/- 56.6 pg/mL) and lactate dehydrogenase activity (1258.0 +/- 440.9 U/L and 1606.0 +/- 289.0 U/L versus 2848.0 +/- 760.9 U/L) were significantly lower in NAC-DCD and DCD-NAC compared with DCD, respectively. These postischemic inflammatory markers correlated with functional parameters upon reperfusion of the left lung, reported in a previous study. CONCLUSIONS: Administration of NAC prior to or shortly after circulatory arrest results in a marked reduction of inflammation during the warm ischemic phase.