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Abstract

Sublethal hyperthermia and the following recovery from this heat exposure, referred to as hyperthermic preconditioning, elicits a transient state of tolerance to oxidative insults through an intracellular protective response: stress response. The impact of hyperthermic preconditioning on hepatic microcirculatory disturbance, which is one of the determinants of ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury of the liver, was investigated by using intravital fluorescence microscopy. Thirty minutes of ischemia and a subsequent 120 minutes of reperfusion was induced in an in situ isolated perfusion model of Sprague-Dawley rats. Heat stress was given by whole-body hyperthermia, and a subsequent recovery was allowed for 18 or 48 hours, respectively. Postischemic decrease in sinusoidal perfusion rate and sinusoidal diameter, leukocyte stagnation in sinusoids, and leukocyte adhesion in postsinusoidal venules were significantly attenuated in both hyperthermia-pretreated groups. A recovery of bile production, a reduction of liver enzyme release, and an attenuation of tissue edema and histological damage were also observed. A marked expression of heat shock protein (HSP) 70 and heme oxygenase (HO-1)/HSP32 was correlatively observed in the liver tissue coincident with the induction of these protective effects. Hyperthermic preconditioning provides a continuous long-term and constant inhibitory effect (up to 48 hours after heat exposure) on postischemic injury of the liver through the attenuation of microcirculatory disturbances. These beneficial effects might be associated with a concomitant increase in HSP70 and HO-1/HSP32 expression.