Gut ischemia has been implicated in the pathogenesis of necrotizing enterocolitis. Cyclosporine A and rapamycin, both potent novel immunosuppressants which act on signal transduction pathways in CD4+ T- cells, could potentially modulate immune/inflammatory cellular reactions involved in tissue ischemia/reperfusion injury. We hypothesized that cyclosporine A and rapamycin would preserve mucosal cell function and attenuate inflammatory T-cell-mediated cellular changes associated with small bowel ischemic injury. Forty Sprague-Dawley rats underwent 60 min of gut ischemia by vascular occlusion of the superior mesenteric vessels. Animals were randomized to four groups (n = 10): cyclosporine A (CSA, 5 mg/kg/day SQ), rapamycin (RAP, 2 mg/kg/day SQ), cyclosporine A and rapamycin (C and R), and vehicle given to controls (CON). Following 1 hr of reperfusion, small bowel was harvested for xanthine oxidase (XO, units/mg protein) and maltase (MALT, mM substrate degraded/min/g protein) assays. Blood was obtained from the portal vein for tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF- α, pg/ml) assay. The results of the study are presented below (mean ± SEM, *, P < 0.05 versus controls). The results indicate that cyclosporine and rapamycin each play a significant role in attenuating ischemia/reperfusion injury in the gut. These data suggest that there are cytoprotective and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of these drugs independent of T-cell signal transduction that provide some protective effect in small bowel ischemia. Furthermore, T-cell-mediated immune mechanisms may not be associated with the adverse effects of small bowel ischemia/reperfusion injury. Additional investigation will be necessary in order to define the role of T-cell-mediated immune injury in the gut and how this relates to the beneficial effect of immunosuppression in small bowel mucosal ischemic injury.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes