Levosimendan: a cardiovascular drug to prevent liver ischemia-reperfusion injury?

Peter Onody, Rita Stangl, Andras Fulop, Oliver Rosero, David Garbaisz, Zsolt Turoczi, Gabor Lotz, Zoltan Rakonczay, Zsolt Balla, Viktor Hegedus, Laszlo Harsanyi, Attila Szijarto

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Temporary occlusion of the hepatoduodenal ligament leads to an ischemic-reperfusion (IR) injury in the liver. Levosimendan is a new positive inotropic drug, which induces preconditioning-like adaptive mechanisms due to opening of mitochondrial KATP channels. The aim of this study was to examine possible protective effects of levosimendan in a rat model of hepatic IR injury. Levosimendan was administered to male Wistar rats 1 hour (early pretreatment) or 24 hours (late pretreatment) before induction of 60-minute segmental liver ischemia. Microcirculation of the liver was monitored by laser Doppler flowmeter. After 24 hours of reperfusion, liver and blood samples were taken for histology, immuno- and enzyme-histochemistry (TUNEL; PARP; NADH-TR) as well as for laboratory tests. Furthermore, liver antioxidant status was assessed and HSP72 expression was measured. In both groups pretreated with levosimendan, significantly better hepatic microcirculation was observed compared to respective IR control groups. Similarly, histological damage was also reduced after levosimendan administration. This observation was supported by significantly lower activities of serum ALT (p early = 0.02; p late = 0.005), AST (p early = 0.02; p late = 0.004) and less DNA damage by TUNEL test (p early = 0.05; p late = 0.034) and PAR positivity (p early = 0.02; p late = 0.04). Levosimendan pretreatment resulted in significant improvement of liver redox homeostasis. Further, significantly better mitochondrial function was detected in animals receiving late pretreatment. Finally, HSP72 expression was increased by IR injury, but it was not affected by levosimendan pretreatment. Levosimendan pretreatment can be hepatoprotective and it could be useful before extensive liver resection.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this

Onody, P., Stangl, R., Fulop, A., Rosero, O., Garbaisz, D., Turoczi, Z., Lotz, G., Rakonczay, Z., Balla, Z., Hegedus, V., Harsanyi, L., & Szijarto, A. (2013). Levosimendan: a cardiovascular drug to prevent liver ischemia-reperfusion injury? PloS one, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0073758