Background: Experimental studies of the use of free radical scavengers in ischemic/reperfusion (I/R) injury following detorsion of the torted testis have yielded conflicting results due to differences in the period of ischemia used. The authors studied I/R injury in the rabbit model, to define the point beyond which there is reperfusion failure. Methods: Ischemia/reperfusion injury of the testis was created in 3-6-month-old male New Zealand white rabbits by cross-clamping the left spermatic cord for periods of ischemia lasting 0, 15, 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 min. There were eight animals per experimental group. The right testis served as internal control. Both testes were harvested after 24 h of reperfusion in four animals and after 3 months in the remaining four animals for each group. Testicular malondialdehyde (MDA), a measure of free radical damage, was determined by using the thiobarbituric acid reaction on testicular homogenates. Johnsen score was used to assess morphological damage caused by the ischemia. Results: After 24 h of reperfusion, the mean testicular MDA in the control right testes at 0, 15, 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 min was 2.1, 2.5, 2.9, 2.4, 2.1 and 1.9 nmol/mg protein, respectively. The mean left testicular MDA at corresponding ischemic periods was 1.6,2.0,3.9, 10.0,4.4,6.1 and 1.0 nmol/ mg protein, respectively. The maximum left testicular MDA was at 60 min (10.0 nmol/mg protein), following which the level dropped significantly to 1.0 nmol/mg protein at 180 min. At 3 months, the mean Johnsen scores for left testes subjected to 0, 60, 120 and 180 min ischemia were 9.4, 8.8, 2.3, 3.5, respectively. Conclusion: The results suggest that following ischemia of up to 60 min in the rabbit testis, adequate reperfusion is possible, but ischemia lasting beyond 60 min results in inadequate reperfusion leading to irreversible damage. Thus, in experiments for assessing the effect of antioxidants on I/R injury of the testis in rabbits, periods up to 60 min of ischemia should be regarded as optimum to observe an effect.
- Reperfusion failure
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