Background: The intermittent Pringle manoeuvre during hepatectomy results in a better clinical outcome when the accumulated ischaemia time is less than 120 min. The aim of this study was to investigate hepatic gene expression related to microcirculatory modulation and ultrastructural changes in patients having the intermittent Pringle manoeuvre. Methods: Forty patients who underwent hepatectomy for liver tumours were randomly assigned to liver transection with intermittent Pringle manoeuvre (Pringle group, n = 20) or without the manoeuvre (control group, n = 20). The clinical data and hepatic expression of endothelin (ET) 1 and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) combined with liver ultrastructure were compared. Results: The Pringle manoeuvre resulted in less blood loss (8.9 versus 12.4 ml/cm2; P = 0.034), a shorter transection time (2.7 versus 4.1 min/cm2; P = 0.015) and a lower serum bilirubin level on postoperative day 2 (26 versus 35 μm/l; P = 0.04). The hepatic messenger RNA content of ET-1 decreased by 38 per cent of the basal level in the Pringle group, whereas it increased by 28 per cent in the control group (P = 0.026). More patients in the control group showed swelling of mitochondria in hepatocytes and disruption of sinusoidal lining cells (12 of 20 patients versus three of 20 in the Pringle group; P = 0.008). Conclusion: The intermittent Pringle manoeuvre results in less disturbance of the hepatic microcirculation and better preservation of liver sinusoids after hepatectomy.
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