We investigated whether antithrombin (AT) can reduce ischemia/reperfusion (I/R)-induced injury of rat liver by promoting prostacyclin release from endothelial cells. Although intravenous administration of AT (250 U/kg) markedly reduced hepatic injury, neither dansyl-Glu-Gly-Arg-chloromethyl ketone-treated factor Xa (DEGR-Xa), a selective inhibitor of thrombin generation, nor Trp49-modified AT, which lacks affinity for heparin, had any effect. Hepatic levels of 6-keto- PGF(1α), a stable prostacyclin (PGI2) metabolite, were increased significantly after I/R of the rat liver. AT significantly increased the hepatic level of 6-keto-PGF(1α), whereas neither DEGR-Xa nor Trp49- modified AT increased it. Hepatic tissue blood flow was markedly reduced after I/R. Although AT significantly increased the hepatic tissue blood flow after I/R, neither DEGR-Xa nor Trp49-modified AT increased the blood flow. Hepatic levels of cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) were significantly increased after hepatic I/R. The levels of these two indicators were reduced by AT but were unaffected by either DEGR-Xa or Trp49-modified AT. Pretreatment of animals with indomethacin (IM) completely inhibited the protective effects of AT on the I/R-induced hepatic damage and the leukocyte activation as well as the AT- induced increase in hepatic 6-keto-PGF(1α) levels after I/R. Iloprost, a stable analog of PGI2, exhibited effects similar to those of AT and also significantly inhibited the exacerbation of liver injury, the decrease in hepatic tissue blood flow, and the increases in hepatic CINC and MPO levels seen in rats subjected to I/R but pretreated with IM. These findings suggest that AT may prevent I/R-induced hepatic injury by increasing the hepatic levels of PGI2 through the interaction of AT with cell-surface glycosaminoglycans, thus increasing hepatic tissue blood flow and inhibiting leukocyte activation in animals subjected to I/R.
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