Adult white rabbits were subjected to 2 hours of partial cardiopulmonary bypass (flow rate 90 ml/min/kg) at 32 degrees C, and unilateral pulmonary artery occlusion was used to simulate total cardiopulmonary bypass in the lung subjected to arterial occlusion, with the other side used as the control lung. The lung subjected to arterial occlusion was reperfused by one of the following methods: (1) by whole blood (WB group), (2) by leukocyte-depleted blood (LD group), and (3) by whole blood with protease inhibitor (nafamostat mesilate, FUT group), expecting its anticomplement action. In the fourth group, the lung was inflated with oxygen during pulmonary artery occlusion followed by whole blood reperfusion (OXY group). As a result, lungs subjected to pulmonary artery occlusion showed significant decreases in tissue concentrations of adenosine triphosphate and regional tissue blood flow during cardiopulmonary bypass. Furthermore, recovery of adenosine triphosphate was depressed in the WB group and recovery of regional tissue blood flow in the WB and OXY groups. Ultrastructural findings in alveolar epithelial cells and capillary endothelial cells showed worsening at reperfusion in only the WB group. Transpulmonary gradients of C5a and leukocyte showed significant increases at reperfusion in the WB and OXY groups. Alveolar-arterial oxygen difference was significantly higher in the WB group than in the others. Results indicate that complete cessation of pulmonary artery flow in normothermic cardiopulmonary bypass may cause ischemia of the lung followed by reperfusion injuries with the no-reflow phenomenon, with possible involvement of activation of leukocytes and complement.