A clinically applicable method for long-term salvage of postischemic skeletal muscle
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The clinical significance and applicability of interventions aimed at reducing reperfusion injury in postischemic skeletal muscle remain unproven, since long-term muscle salvage has not been demonstrated by most treatment protocols that attenuate early reperfusion injury. We have shown that reperfusion of ischemic skeletal muscle results in an early and prolonged sequestration of white blood cells and activation of the alternative complement cascade. The purpose of this study was to determine if 40 minutes of reperfusion with blood depleted of white blood cells and complement proteins, followed by 2 days of normal perfusion, would reduce muscle necrosis after 5 hours of ischemia. The isolated paired canine gracilis muscle model was used. The treatment muscle was initially reperfused with arterial blood that had been spun, washed, passed through a leukocyte removal filter, and resuspended in hydroxyethyl starch (greater than 99.9% removal of white blood cells and the complement proteins factor B and C4). The contralateral control muscle was subjected to unaltered reperfusion. Blood flow (ml/min/100 gm) was measured by timed collection of gracilis venous blood. Myeloperoxidase activity (absorbance at 655 nm/min/mg tissue protein) in muscle biopsies was used to monitor white blood cell sequestration. After 48 hours of reperfusion in vivo, necrosis was quantified by nitroblue tetrazolium staining. Initial reperfusion with white blood cell and complement depleted blood significantly reduced muscle necrosis (53% +/- 3% vs 29% +/- 8%, p less than 0.0025, paired t test). Early blood flow was improved, (p = 0.0025, repeated measure-ANOVA), but subsequent white blood cell sequestration was not altered (p = 0.33, repeated measure-ANOVA). This suggests that a significant amount of white blood cell mediated injury occurs during the first 40 minutes of reperfusion. Preventing early complement activation and white blood cell mediated reperfusion injury is an intervention that is feasible during surgery and may result in clinically significant salvage of postischemic skeletal muscle.