Intestinal ischemia and reperfusion elicits changes in leukocyte counts and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The purpose of this study was to investigate whether these changes were followed by and/or connected with changes in the extracellular antioxidative capacity in a rat superior mesenteric artery (SMA) occlusion/reperfusion model. The SMA was occluded for 45 min and then allowed to be reperfused. Changes of leukocyte, polymorphonuclear (PMN), and lymphocyte counts, chemiluminescence (CL) of whole blood samples as a marker of ROS production, and the total antioxidative capacity of the serum were quantified at the end of ischemia and in 1 h intervals during the postischemic period up to 4 h. The myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity in the serum and intestinal tissue samples was also determined. The MPO activity in the intestinal tissue samples was significantly elevated at the end of ischemia, and this elevation lasted for the whole postischemic period. The oxidative challenge to the body induced a fast mobilization of extracellular antioxidative mechanisms already at the end of ischemia, which was followed by a significant increase in PMN counts and whole blood CL starting at the 2nd hour after reperfusion. The increased CL activity of whole blood was attributed to the increase of the circulating PMNs. No significant changes were observed in leukocyte and lymphocyte counts. It is concluded that compensatory mechanisms of the oxidative-antioxidative balance of the body react very quickly if challenged.
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