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Abstract

The effect of FK 506 on regeneration of the liver was studied in rats after a two-thirds partial hepatectomy after 60 min of ischemia of the unresected liver. The animals were divided into three distinct groups of 10 rats each. Group 1 (controls) received 0.5 ml saline solution intravenously 30 min after the induction of ischemia. Groups 2 and 3 were injected with FK 506 (0.3 mg/kg) intravenously 30 min after and 24 min before the induction of hepatic ischemia, respectively. The hepatic content of ATP and serum levels of ALT and lactate dehydrogenase were determined on each animal. In addition, the histological appearance and mitotic activity of the remnant liver was determined at regular 24-hr intervals after hepatic ischemia. All 10 control animals died within 72 hr. Treatment with FK 506 resulted in improved survival in groups 2 and 3 (30% and 80%, respectively). The improved survival seen in the FK 506–treated animals was reflected by a restoration of hepatic ATP content, a reduction in the serum levels of ALT and lactate dehydrogenase, an amelioration of hepatic necrosis and neutrophilic infiltration and an increase in the mitotic activity of the liver. These results suggest that FK 506 ameliorates the hepatic injury associated with ischemia/reperfusion and has a potent stimulatory effect on liver cell regeneration that may make it valuable as a hepatoprotective agent when administered to organ donors before graft harvesting. (HEPATOLOGY 1991;13:947–951.)