Allopurinol and superoxide dismutase protect against leucocyte-endothelium interactions in a novel model of colonic ischaemia-reperfusion

Br J Surg. 2002 Dec;89(12):1572-80. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2168.2002.02279.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allopurinol / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Colitis, Ischemic / immunology
  • Colon / blood supply
  • Endothelium, Vascular / immunology
  • Free Radical Scavengers / therapeutic use*
  • Free Radicals / immunology
  • Leukocytes / drug effects*
  • Leukocytes / immunology
  • Ligation
  • Male
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Reperfusion Injury / immunology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / therapeutic use*


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Free Radicals
  • Allopurinol
  • Superoxide Dismutase