Introduction: Microcirculatory disturbances caused by ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) are the crucial hallmarks of pancreatitis following pancreas transplantation.
Aims: To develop a novel rodent model of normothermic in situ ischemia of a pancreatic tail-segment that simulates the clinical situation of pancreas transplantation by flushing the organ via an inserted microcatheter and thus enables selective treatment of the organ via this access.
Methodology: Four experimental groups were investigated (n = 7 Wistar rats/group): sham animals without ischemia and dissection of the pancreas; control animals with dissection of a pancreatic tail segment pedunculated on the splenic vessels and flushing od this segment with saline via a microcatheter; and two groups of animals treated like controls with a pancreatic ischemia time of 1 hour or 2 hours. With use of intravital epifluorescence microscopy, the microcirculatory damage was characterized by investigation of functional capillary density (FCD) and leukocyte adherence in postcapillary venules (LAV) before ischemia and during a reperfusion time of 2 hours. Dry:wet ratio determinations, light microscopy, and electron microscopic investigations were performed to characterize the histologic organ damage.
Results: FCD decreased significantly (p < 0.05) 2 hours after reperfusion in the groups of 1-hour (-29.21%) and 2-hour ischemia (-42.73%), in comparison with baseline values. LAV increased significantly (p < 0.05), 4.3- and 5.8-fold, after 1-hour and 2-hour ischemia during the observation time. The histologic damage was similar to posttransplantation pancreatitis in humans 1 hour after reperfusion. In sham and control animals these alterations were not significant.
Conclusions: The rodent in situ model of pancreatic IRI showed standardized microcirculatory damage dependent on the ischemia time. Offering the possibility of selective treatment by the direct artery access to the ischemic pancreatic area, the model enables investigations of questions related to human pancreas transplantation.