Background: Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) represents a class of antioxidants and is a potent inducer of the heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) gene and an inhibitor of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B). We examined the impact of PDTC preconditioning against cold ischemia and reperfusion injury in the rat liver.
Methods: Lewis rats were treated subcutaneously with saline or PDTC solution 24 hours before harvesting. Some animals pretreated with PDTC were also given zinc protoporphyrin IX intravenously immediately after reperfusion. HO-1 expression and enzyme activity in liver tissues were analyzed at different time points after each treatment. After transplantation of 24-hour preserved livers, serum levels of transaminases and gene expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1 beta, and NF-kappa B were measured. Animal survival and cellular viability were monitored.
Results: HO-1 gene expression and protein synthesis were enhanced in PDTC-treated livers, leading to increased enzyme activity (P <.05). The PDTC treatment group showed lower transaminase levels (P <.05), lower cytokine and NF-kappa B messenger RNA expression (P <.05), and fewer nonviable cells (P <.05) than did the control group, whereas these PDTC effects were abolished with zinc protoporphyrin injection after reperfusion (P <.05). The best animal survival rate was observed in the PDTC group (P <.05).
Conclusion: PDTC preconditioning reduces inflammatory responses during reperfusion. PDTC appears to exert this protective effect by induction of an antioxidative stress protein and inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines.