Background & objectives: Reperfusion after ischaemia is detrimental to the tissues. The oxidative stress created and cytokines released are mostly responsible in this process. In this study, ethyl pyruvate, a known agent for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, was used to investigate the effects on ischaemia/reperfusion injury on skin island flaps in rats.
Methods: Sixty rats were randomly distributed in three groups (non-ischaemic, ischaemic and medication groups). Ethyl pyruvate was administered in the medication group with a dose of 50 mg/kg. After 24 h and one week, the animals were sacrificed, and the flaps were analyzed macroscopically, histopathologically, biochemically (total nitrite, malondialdehyde and myeloperoxidase).
Results: Biochemical markers indicating oxidative stress, were found elevated in ischaemic group, whereas medication with ethyl pyruvate significantly reduced these values. There was a significant reduction (P<0.05) in the levels of these markers between ischaemic and medication groups. Ethyl pyruvate improved all the parameters significantly.
Interpretation & conclusion: Ethyl pyruvate showed strong scavenger activity against reactive oxygen species. It could be a potential candidate to improve the flap viability in reconstructive microsurgery, especially in free tissue transfers. However, more studies are warranted in experimental models to confirm these findings.