Poly (ADP-ribose) synthetase (PARS) is a DNA protective enzyme activated by single-strand breakage. It is suspected that exaggerated PARS activation related to biochemical stress by reactive oxygen and nitrogen species contributes to cellular injury in sepsis. The main hypothesis is that PARS activation leads to massive ATP and NAD consumption and consequent cellular energy depletion. The PARS inhibitor 3-amino-benzamide (3AB) is protective in rodents challenged with either endotoxin or intraperitoneal zymozan. The present experiment was designed to test the effect of 3AB in a more clinically relevant model of sepsis, namely polymicrobial sepsis induced by cecal ligature and puncture (CLP). Adult male Wistar rats were anesthetized, instrumented with catheters in the jugular vein and in the carotid artery, and then randomized into three groups: Sham (no laparotomy, n = 13), CLP (n = 15), and CLP/3AB (n = 18). All animals were allowed to recover and they received a continuous intravenous infusion of saline (20 mL/kg/h) and fentanyl (20 microg/kg/h). 3AB was administered to the CLP/3AB group as an intravenous bolus (10 mg/kg) followed by a continuous intravenous infusion (10 mg/kg/h). After 24 h, blood was drawn for the determination of biological indicators of organ injury. Rats were then anesthetized and biopsies of the liver were quickly frozen into liquid nitrogen for the subsequent determination of NAD and ATP levels. Further organ samples were collected for the assay of myeloperoxidase (MPO) to indicate tissue infiltration by leukocytes, and nitrotyrosine to indicate the level of biochemical stress by reactive nitrogen species. Twenty-four-hour mortality was 0/13 (Sham), 1/15 (CLP), and 5/18 (CLP/3AB; p = NS). In the surviving rats, CLP induced a clear elevation of liver enzymes, bilirubin, and pancreatic lipase, but not creatinine in the plasma, as well as a marked increase of MPO activity in liver, jejunum, and lung, but not kidney or heart. None of these variables was affected by treatment with 3AB. Furthermore, CLP did not cause depletion of NAD or ATP in the liver, nor any change in the nitrotyrosine content of any organ. These data argue against a general role of PARS activation in the pathogenesis of sepsis-induced tissue injury.