Ischaemia–reperfusion (IR)-associated microcirculatory changes play a major role in acute post-transplantation pancreatitis. The pathophysiological role of platelets in these events is unknown. The aim of this study was to examine platelet adhesion and function during early reperfusion after pancreatic ischaemia.
Rats were subjected to warm pancreatic ischaemia by cross-clamping of the pancreatic vessels for 1 h. After 1 h of reperfusion, platelet–endothelium interaction was evaluated after platelet separation and staining by fluorescence microscopy. Amylase levels and pancreatic histology were evaluated 24 h after reperfusion. Animals treated according to an identical protocol, but without ischaemia, served as controls.
Mild pancreatitis had developed by 24 h after IR; serum amylase levels were significantly higher than those in control animals. The numbers of adherent platelets in capillaries and venules were significantly increased, and platelet velocity in capillaries was significantly decreased, in the IR group compared with controls. There was significantly more oedema and inflammation in pancreatic tissue after IR.
Warm ischaemia for 1 h followed by reperfusion for 24 h caused mild pancreatitis in this experimental model. The pancreatic microcirculation was characterized by pronounced platelet–endothelium interaction in capillaries and venules. These results suggest that platelet activation may play an important role in acute post-transplantation pancreatitis. Copyright © 2005 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.