Neutrophils (PMN) have been implicated as mediators of the "no-reflow" phenomenon seen in skeletal muscle during reperfusion after ischemia. In order to evaluate the PMN contribution to the changes seen in the microcirculation of skeletal muscle after ischemia, we evaluated PMN velocity using in vivo microscopy in a rat model. After the induction of anesthesia, the right iliac and femoral arteries were isolated. The right anterior tibialis muscle was exposed in situ, covered with a plexiglass disc, and perfused with Kreb's solution. Fluorescein-labeled bovine albumin was given intravenously, which identified the capillaries under microscopic magnification as viewed on the video screen. Acridine orange was then administered intravenously, which selectively fluoresced the PMN. The right iliac and femoral arteries were clamped for ischemia intervals of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 min. Acridine orange was given immediately after the arteries were unclamped, after 30 min of reperfusion and after 60 min of reperfusion. PMN velocity was determined by the distance traveled by the PMN over time using the videotape and frame-by-frame review. Results demonstrated no change in PMN velocity (mm/sec) after 5 min of ischemia. After 10, 15, and 20 min of ischemia, PMN velocity initially slowed and then recovered, which was not statistically significant. After 25 min of ischemia, PMN velocity decreased significantly, which persisted (P < 0.05 compared to 5-min ischemia by AN-OVA). No flow was seen after 30 min of ischemia. In conclusion: (1) Skeletal muscle capillaries can be visualized using this technique of in vivo microscopy and (2) changes in PMN velocity during reperfusion may contribute to areas of "no-reflow" as seen after only 30 min of ischemia in this rat model.
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