This study was designed to determine the source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and whether Kupffer cells modulate the injury of perfused rat liver after cold preservation. The livers of male Lewis rats pretreated with schizophyllan glucan (SPG) (10 mg/kg, SPG group) or gadolinium chloride (5 mg/kg; Gd group) and untreated rats (control group) were preserved in University of Wisconsin solution for 0, 12, and 24 hours at 4 degrees C and then perfused for 60 minutes with oxygenated Krebs-Henseleit bicarbonate buffer. Real-time chemiluminescence (CL) of the liver during perfusion was measured using a sensitive photomultiplier, and reperfusion injury was assessed by measuring lipid peroxidation and lactate dehydrogenase release. CL intensity reached a peak within 5 minutes of reperfusion, and superoxide dismutase completely inhibited this CL in all groups. In the control group, the total CL intensity was high after 24 hours of preservation. It significantly (P < .05 vs. control group) increased in the SPG group, while it decreased in the Gd group after 12 and 24 hours of preservation. The total CL intensity decreased by 70% (when diphenyliodonium chloride (100 micromol/L; an NADPH oxidase inhibitor) was added to the perfusate before preservation of untreated rats. Lipid peroxidation and lactate dehydrogenase release significantly (P < .05) deteriorated in the SPG group, while they ameliorated in the Gd group after 24 hours of preservation. These results demonstrate that Kupffer cells primarily generate superoxide anions and modulate the organ injury in the initial phase of reperfusion after cold preservation.