Desflurane increases pulmonary alveolar-capillary membrane permeability after aortic occlusion-reperfusion in rabbits: Evidence of oxidant-mediated lung injury

Vance G. Nielsen, Manuel S. Baird, Michelle L. McAdams, Bruce A. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Pulmonary injury occurs after vascular surgery, with xanthine oxidase (an oxidant generator) released from reperfusing liver and intestines mediating a significant component of this injury. Because halogenated anesthetics have been observed to enhance oxidant-mediated injury in vitro, the authors hypothesized that desflurane would increase alveolar- capillary membrane permeability mediated by circulating xanthine oxidase after thoracic occlusion and reperfusion. Methods: Rabbits were assigned to one of five groups: aorta occlusion groups administered desflurane (n = 14), desflurane and tungstate (xanthine oxidase inactivator, n = 12), fentanyl plus droperidol (n = 13), and two sham-operated groups (desflurane, n = 7 and fentanyl plus droperidol, n = 7). Aortic occlusion was maintained for 45 min with a balloon catheter, followed by 3 h of reperfusion. Alveolar-capillary membrane permeability was assessed by measurement of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid protein. Xanthine oxidase activity was determined in plasma and lung tissue. Ascorbic acid content (an antioxidant) was determined in lung tissue. Results: Desflurane was associated with significantly increased alveolar- capillary membrane permeability after aortic occlusion-reperfusion when compared with the fentanyl plus droperidol anesthesia or sham-operated groups (P < 0.05). Inactivation of xanthine oxidase abrogated the alveolarcapillary membrane compromise associated with desflurane. Although significantly greater than for sham-operated animals, plasma xanthine oxidase activities released after aortic occlusion-reperfusion were not different between the two anesthetics. There were no anesthetic-associated differences in lung tissue xanthine oxidase activity. However, desflurane anesthesia resulted in a significant reduction in lung ascorbic acid after aortic occlusion- reperfusion compared with the sham-operated animals. Conclusions: Desflurane anesthesia increased xanthine oxidase-dependent alveolar-capillary membrane compromise after aortic occlusion-reperfusion in concert with depletion of a key tissue antioxidant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1524-1534
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Desflurane
  • Enzymes
  • Ischemia
  • Oxidants
  • Shock
  • Volatile anesthetics
  • Xanthine oxidoreductase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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