, Volume 62, Issue 2, pp 155-164,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 18 Oct 2012

Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in sepsis-induced hepatic microvascular dysfunction


Objective and design

Hepatic microvascular dysfunction is a critical event in the development of liver failure during sepsis. Activated blood cells and reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of sepsis.


Intravital-videomicroscopy was used to determine whether RONS contribute to the recruitment of leukocytes/platelets in the hepatic microvasculature during sepsis. Six hours following cecal-ligation and puncture (CLP), disturbances of the hepatic microvasculature were assessed in WT-mice (C57Bl/6 J; n = 8), in mice lacking gp91phox(n = 5), overexpressing superoxide-dismutase (SOD, n = 8), in WT-mice treated with a NOS-inhibitor (l-NAME, n = 5), lacking nNOS, eNOS or iNOS (n = 5 each), treated with the NO-donor DetaNO (n = 5), in WT-mice treated with gadolinium-chloride (GdCl2, n = 5) and compared to a group of WT-mice following a sham operation (n = 8). Six hours post-CLP, the adhesion of leukocytes and platelets in terminal hepatic venules (THV) and sinusoids was quantified.


In WT-mice, CLP elicited increases in the number of adherent leukocytes and platelets. Similar responses to CLP were noted in mice overexpressing SOD or lacking either eNOS or gp91phox. The blood-cell recruitment was significantly blunted in septic iNOS-knockout mice and this response was reversed by pre-treatment with DetaNO.


These findings suggest that iNOS-derived NO is a determinant of the pro-inflammatory phenotype assumed by the hepatic microvasculature during sepsis.