Anastomotic healing is impaired after intestinal surgery because of ischemia and reperfusion injury (IRI), which can result in intestinal leaks leading to increased mortality. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of transplant IRI and immune mechanisms on intestinal graft anastomotic healing. Orthotopic intestinal transplantations (OIT) were performed in rats. The experimental design consisted of six groups A-F (n = 5/group): A, allogeneic OIT treated with tacrolimus (1 mg/ kg/day); B, syngeneic OIT treated with tacrolimus; C, syngeneic OIT; D, allogeneic OIT; E, proximal and distal anastomoses performed in non-transplanted animals; F, same as in group E but treated with tacrolimus. Anastomotic bursting pressure (ABP), hydroxyproline content (HPC), and mucosal inflammatory infiltrate (MII) were determined at the anastomotic sites (proximal and distal) and compared between groups. ABP was significantly (p < 0.001) reduced in OIT groups A, B, C, and D compared to control groups E and F at both the proximal and distal anastomotic sites. HPC was ∼1 μg/mg of tissue in groups A, B, C, and D, and ∼5 μg/mg of tissue in groups E and F. This demonstrates a significant (p < 0.001) reduction in HPC after OIT. MII was significantly (p < 0.001) increased in OIT groups when compared to nontransplanted control groups. MII was also significantly (p < 0.05) increased in allogeneic OIT groups A and D compared to syngeneic OIT groups B and C. Generally, ABP and HPC were inversely proportional to MII in both nontransplanted control and OIT groups. Reduced anastomotic strength was demonstrated in both syngeneic and allogeneic OIT anastomotic sites irrespective of immunosuppressive therapy, and is probably related to IRI.
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