, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 331-346

Morphologic assessment of leukocyte-endothelial cell interactions in mesenteric venules subjected to ischemia and reperfusion

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Intravital microscopic studies of the mesenteric microcirculation have demonstrated that leukocyte adherence and emigration in postcapillary venules are a characteristic feature of tissues exposed to ischemia-reperfusion. The objectives of this study were to determine whether: (1) neutrophils are the predominant leukocytes that adhere and emigrate in postischemic mesenteric venules, and (2) leukocyte adherence and/or emigration are a prerequisite for reperfusion-induced increases in venular permeability. Leukocyte kinetics in cat mesenteric venules (25–35μm diameter) were evaluated using both intravital microscopy and quantitative morphometry. The intestine and mesentery were exposed to 60 min of ischemia, followed by 60 min reperfusion. Some animals were pretreated with a monoclonal antibody (MoAb IB4) against the leukocyte adhesion glycoprotein, CD11/CD18. Vessels observed by intravital microscopy and adjacent venules of similar diameter were excised and processed for light (LM) and electron microscopy (EM). Horseradish peroxidase (HRP), administered intravenously, was used to assess vascular permeability by EM. By LM, the control (nonischemic) mesentery is sparsely populated by plasma cells, mast cells, and leukocytes; 30–50% of the resident population is neutrophils. Ischemia-reperfusion led to a significant increase in the number of extravascular cells, with neutrophils accounting for >80% of the total cell population. Control and ischemic venules demonstrated no leakage of HRP into the interstitium. However, venules exposed to ischemia and reperfusion demonstrated HRP leakage between endothelial cells and into the surrounding interstitium; neutrophils were adherent to the luminal surface of the endothelium, transmigrating the vessel wall, and in the surrounding interstitium. Animals pretreated with MoAb IB4 presented the same cell profile as nonischemic controls, with no adherent or transmigrating neutrophils. However, some HRP leakage was noted following reperfusion in venules treated with MoAb IB4. The results of this study indicate that: (1) neutrophils are the predominate leukocytes that adhere and emigrate in postischemic venules, and (2) inhibition of leukocyte adhesion does not completely prevent the venular dysfunction associated with ischemia-reperfusion.