Background: Leucocyte recruitment is a key feature in ischaemia-reperfusion (I/R)-triggered tissue injury. However, the mechanisms underlying leucocyte-endothelium interactions in the large bowel remain elusive because of a previous lack of models to examine the colonic microcirculation. The aim of this study was to develop and validate a novel method for studying reperfusion-induced leucocyte-endothelium interactions in the colon.
Methods: The superior mesenteric artery was occluded for 30 min in male C57/Bl6 mice and leucocyte responses were analysed in colonic venules after 30-240 min of reperfusion. Analysis of leucocyte rolling and adhesion in colonic venules was made possible by an inverted approach using intravital fluorescence microscopy.
Results: Thirty minutes of ischaemia and 120 min of reperfusion induced the strongest and most reproducible increase in leucocyte rolling and adhesion. This was associated with a significant increase in colonic levels of malondialdehyde (MDA). Administration of allopurinol and superoxide dismutase reduced I/R-induced leucocyte responses in a dose-dependent manner. Pretreatment with allopurinol attenuated the tissue content MDA in the colon by more than 60 per cent.
Conclusion: A new method for examining I/R-induced leucocyte responses in the colonic microcirculation is described. Oxygen free radicals play an important role in triggering leucocyte rolling and adhesion in colonic venules.