Methimazole protects lungs during hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats: an effect not induced by hypothyroidism

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 May;22(5):704-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2006.04202.x.


Background: Hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury may lead to remote organ failure with mortal respiratory dysfunction. The aim of the present study was to analyze the possible protective effects of methimazole on lungs after hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Methods: Forty male Wistar albino rats were randomized into five groups: a control group, in which bilateral pulmonary lobectomy was done; a hepatic ischemia-reperfusion group, in which bilateral pulmonary lobectomy was done after hepatic ischemia-reperfusion; a thyroidectomy-ischemia-reperfusion group (total thyroidectomy followed by, 7 days later, bilateral pulmonary lobectomy after hepatic ischemia-reperfusion); a methimazole-ischemia-reperfusion group (following methimazole administration for 7 days, bilateral pulmonary lobectomy was done after hepatic ischemia-reperfusion); and a methimazole +L-thyroxine-ischemia-reperfusion group (following methimazole and L-thyroxine administration for 7 days, bilateral pulmonary lobectomy was performed after hepatic ischemia-reperfusion). Pulmonary tissue specimens were evaluated histopathologically and for myeloperoxidase and malondialdehyde levels.

Results: All of the ischemia-reperfusion intervention groups had higher pulmonary injury scoring indices than the control group (P < 0.001). Pulmonary injury index of the ischemia-reperfusion group was higher than that of both the methimazole-supplemented hypothyroid and euthyroid groups (P = 0028; P = 0,038, respectively) and was similar to that of the thyroidectomized group. Pulmonary tissue myeloperoxidase and malondialdehyde levels in the ischemia-reperfusion group were similar with that in the thyroidectomized rats but were significantly higher than that in the control, and both the methimazole-supplemented hypothyroid and euthyroid groups.

Conclusion: Methimazole exerts a protective role on lungs during hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury, which can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects rather than hypothyroidism alone.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Antithyroid Agents / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hepatic Artery / surgery
  • Liver / blood supply*
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Lung Diseases / metabolism
  • Lung Diseases / pathology
  • Lung Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Methimazole / pharmacology*
  • Methimazole / therapeutic use
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Pneumonectomy
  • Portal Vein / surgery
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reperfusion Injury / complications*
  • Reperfusion Injury / metabolism
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Thyroxine / pharmacology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Antithyroid Agents
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Methimazole
  • Peroxidase
  • Thyroxine