Ethyl pyruvate ameliorates liver ischemia-reperfusion injury by decreasing hepatic necrosis and apoptosis

Allan Tsung, Takashi Kaizu, Atsunori Nakao, Lifang Shao, Brian Bucher, Mitchell P. Fink, Noriko Murase, David A. Geller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (I/R) occurs in the settings of transplantation, trauma, and elective liver resections. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been shown to play a major role in organ I/R injury. Pyruvate, a key intermediate in cellular metabolism, is an effective scavenger of ROS. The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that ethyl pyruvate (EP), a soluble pyruvate derivative, is effective in preventing hepatic I/R injury. Methods. Lewis rats underwent 60 minutes of partial warm hepatic ischemia. Three doses of EP dissolved in lactated Ringer's solution or lactated Ringer's solution (LR) alone were given by intravenous injection. Serum and tissue samples were obtained at 1 to 24 hours postreperfusion. Results. Serum transaminases, degree of hepatic necrosis, and neutrophil infiltration were all significantly decreased in the EP-treated rats compared with control animals. The amount of hepatic lipid peroxidation was also significantly decreased in EP-treated animals. Both circulating levels and hepatic expression of inflammatory cytokines were significantly decreased in the EP-treated animals. Furthermore, EP inhibited activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase, p38, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase mitogen-activated protein kinases, as well as nuclear factor-κB, signaling pathways involved in cytokine release. Treatment with EP also inhibited hepatic apoptosis. Conclusion. EP has a protective effect on hepatic I/R injury, mediated in part by decreasing lipid peroxidation, down-regulation of inflammatory mediators, and inhibition of apoptosis. Strategies using this additive to LR solution should be considered in clinical settings of ischemic liver injury to decrease organ damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 27 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Apoptosis
  • Ischemia-reperfusion
  • Liver
  • Preservation injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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