Protective strategies against ischemic injury of the liver

Gastroenterology. 2003 Sep;125(3):917-36. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(03)01048-5.


This article summarizes strategies to protect the liver from injuries caused by ischemia and reperfusion. Three different sections (i.e., surgical and pharmacologic strategies and gene therapy) present approaches to enhance the survival and viability of the liver in various surgical procedures including liver transplantation. The first section reviews approaches using surgical interventions such as ischemic preconditioning and intermittent clamping. Their protective effects are discussed with respect to the mechanism of injury. In the second section, pharmacologic agents targeting microcirculation, oxidative stress, proteases, and inflammation are described. Mechanisms of injury and their suppression by a wide variety of drugs are discussed. The third section focuses on gene therapy. Potential target genes have been identified (e.g., superoxide dismutase or heme oxygenase). Animal experiments in which the liver injury is reduced successfully may pave the way to novel strategies applied to different liver diseases in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Ischemia / pathology*
  • Ischemic Preconditioning
  • Liver / blood supply*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Organ Preservation
  • Pentoxifylline / therapeutic use
  • Protease Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*


  • Antioxidants
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Pentoxifylline