Background: Nitric oxide is believed to play a critical role in the maintenance of vascular integrity through its interaction with neutrophils, platelets, and cellular components of the vessel wall. It has been reported that endogenous nitric oxide level was depressed after ischemia, reperfusion, or both. Furthermore, exogenous as well as endogenous nitric oxide decreases reperfusion-induced vascular dysfunction. We hypothesized that nitroprusside, a potent nitric oxide donor, might enhance lung preservation and reduce posttransplantation lung allograft dysfunction.
Methods: Ten dogs underwent left lung allotransplantation. Donor lungs were flushed with modified Euro-Collins solution and stored for 21 hours at 1 degree C. Immediately after transplantation, the contralateral right main pulmonary artery and bronchus were ligated to assess isolated allograft function. Hemodynamics and arterial blood gas analysis (inspired oxygen fraction, 1.0) were assessed for 6 hours before sacrifice. Allograft myeloperoxidase activity and wet-to-dry weight ratio were assessed. Group 1 (n = 5) animals received no nitroprusside. In group 2 (n = 5), the donor lung received nitroprusside in the flush solution (10 mg/L) and recipient animals received 0.2 mg/kg just before reperfusion as well as a continuous infusion (0.11 +/- 0.01 mg.kg-1. h-1) during the assessment period.
Results: Superior gas exchange and hemodynamics were noted in lungs receiving nitroprusside. Although allograft myeloperoxidase activity and the total amount of fluid suctioned from the allograft were significantly reduced in group 2, protein levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were not statistically different.
Conclusions: Nitroprusside administration in the flush solution and during reperfusion improves lung allograft function and blood flow, and reduces pulmonary vascular resistance and myeloperoxidase activity in the transplanted lung. Nitroprusside reduces lung allograft reperfusion injury.