Pyruvate reduces anoxic injury and free radical formation in perfused rat hepatocytes

Am J Physiol. 1996 Mar;270(3 Pt 1):G535-40. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1996.270.3.G535.


The effects of 5 mM pyruvate on anoxic injury, superoxide (O2-.) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) generation, and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release during reoxygenation after 2.5 h anoxia were studied in perfused rat hepatocytes. When pyruvate was present during anoxia and reoxygenation, there was little anoxic injury, and the generation of free radicals and LDH release during reoxygenation were reduced 50-60%. When Pyruvate was added during reoxygenation, there was no decrease in O2-. or LDH release, although H2O2 formation was depressed. Free radical formation and anoxic/reperfusion injury were significantly reduced when pyruvate was added during the anoxic period only. Pyruvate reduced the deleterious effects of 10 microM antimycin A by preventing the increase in O2-. formation and LDH release evoked by the inhibitor. These results indicate that pyruvate protected hepatocytes against anoxic injury and that its protective action occurred principally during anoxia and not during reoxygenation. Pyruvate appeared to act at a mitochondrial site, since it reduced the deleterious effects of antimycin A.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimycin A / analogs & derivatives
  • Antimycin A / pharmacology
  • Cell Hypoxia / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / physiology*
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Male
  • Pyruvates / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Free Radicals
  • Pyruvates
  • Superoxides
  • antimycin
  • Antimycin A
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase