Perioperative glycine treatment attenuates ischemia/reperfusion injury and ameliorates smooth muscle dysfunction in intestinal transplantation

Transplantation. 2008 May 15;85(9):1300-10. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e31816c576f.


Background: Ischemia/reperfusion evokes a functionally relevant inflammatory response within the muscularis propria of small bowel grafts by activation of resident macrophages and leukocyte recruitment. We hypothesized that immunomodulatory perioperative treatment with glycine attenuates the proinflammatory cascade and improves smooth muscle dysfunction of small bowel grafts.

Methods: Orthotopic SBTx was performed in Lewis rats. Glycine (1 mg/g body weight) was infused (0.1 mL/g/hr) for 2 hr before harvest as preconditioning in the donor, and for 2 hr from the onset of reperfusion in the recipient. Transplanted vehicle (isotonic saline)-treated animals and naive animals served as controls. Rats were sacrificed after 3 hr and 24 hr. Leukocyte infiltration was investigated in muscularis whole mounts by immunohistochemistry. Mediator mRNA expression was determined by real-time-PCR. Jejunal circular smooth muscle contractility was assessed in a standard organ bath.

Results: Compared with vehicle controls, glycine-treated graft muscularis expressed a significant alleviation in mRNA peak expression for IL-6, IL-1beta, ICAM-1, MCP-1, TNFalpha, COX-2, and iNOS. Also glycine-treated grafts exhibited significantly less infiltration with ED-1-positive macrophages and MPO-positive neutrophils as well as reduced apoptosis. Concurrent to these results, vehicle controls showed an 80% decrease in smooth muscle contractility, whereas glycine-treated animals exhibited only a 40% decrease in contractile activity compared with controls.

Conclusions: The data indicate that perioperative glycine treatment reduces the molecular and cellular inflammatory response within the grafts and improves smooth muscle dysfunction after transplantation. Therefore, the glycine-activated chloride channel on resident and infiltrating leukocytes could be a promising pharmacologic target to attenuate ischemia/reperfusion injury after ITx.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / genetics
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glycine / therapeutic use*
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Intestines / transplantation*
  • Intraoperative Period*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiopathology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transplantation, Isogeneic / pathology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics


  • DNA Primers
  • Interleukins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Glycine