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The role of platelet-activating factor (paf) in mediating the colonic damage that develops after large-colon torsion was studied in 14 ponies. Morphologic changes in areas of the ascending colon and selected abdominal and thoracic viscera after 1 hour of large-colon torsion and 3 to 5 hours of reperfusion were determined, as well as the protective effects of systemic administration of a specific paf antagonist (WEB 2086). Ponies were selected then allocated at random and in equal numbers to 2 groups that received 1 of 2 treatments prior to induction of large-colon torsion: group 1 —control (saline solution), and group 2 — WEB 2086 (3 mg/kg of body weight loading dose and 3 mg/kg/h for the remainder of the study). In each pony, full-thickness tissue specimens from the gastrointestinal tract —cecum, pelvic flexure, left and right ventral colon, and right dorsal colon —heart, left lung, liver, left adrenal gland, spleen, and right kidney were collected and histologically evaluated. Edema, mucosal necrosis, and neutrophil infiltration in colonic sections were graded from 0 (normal) to 3 (most severe changes). Sections of liver and lung from 3 ponies in each group, and colon from 1 pony in each group, also were examined by transmission electron microscopy to determine the presence of ultrastructural alterations.

Ischemia and reperfusion induced marked changes in all sections of colon in all ponies: moderate to severe submucosal edema, moderate necrosis of the superficial epithelium and lamina propria, and necrosis of the mucosal crypt epithelium. Extra-vascular neutrophil accumulation was evident in all sections of colon and cecum, but not in other tissues. Ultrastructural lesions were not present in hepato-cytes or pneumocytes, or in the endothelial cells of liver, lung, and colon. Bacteria were observed by electron microscopy in 5% of hepatic sinusoids. Administration of a specific paf antagonist, WEB 2086, failed to reduce severity of the observed lesions, indicating that it was not cytoprotective at the dosage used in this model of ischemia-reperfusion injury.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Large colon torsion frequently is a fatal condition in horses. The purpose of the study reported here was to determine systemic arterial pressure, plasma eicosanoid concentrations, colonic blood flow, vascular resistance, tissue pH, and morphologic features associated with large colon torsion and detorsion, and to evaluate the effects of sodium heparin (80 IU/kg of body weight, iv) treatment on these values. Values were determined in 20 anesthetized ponies that were randomly assigned into 4 equal groups: control; control/heparin; torsion; torsion/heparin. Torsions were created by a 720° rotation of the cecum and colon around their long axes at the sternal and diaphragmatic flexures. After 1 hour of torsion, the torsion was corrected and the colon was allowed to reperfuse for 1 hour. Heparin was administered 30 minutes into the experiment. Parametric data were analyzed (P ≤ 0.05), using split-plot analysis of variance, with differences between means evaluated with a modified Bonferroni t test; histopathologic data were analyzed (P ≤ 0.05) with a Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance by ranks. Heparin prevented colonic detorsion-induced hypotension and increases in vascular resistance and thromboxane concentration, and it significantly increased colonic blood flow for 40 minutes during reperfusion. Heparin did not alter prostacyclin concentration or the histologic appearance of the large colon.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research