Obese Zucker rats are susceptible to increased hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/RP) injury. Increased lipid peroxidation occurs in this model with warm ischemia. We hypothesized that a severe depletion of phospholipids (PL) occurs with warm I/RP in fatty livers. Obese (Ob) and lean (Ln) Zucker rats were subjected to 90 min of in vivo partial hepatic warm I followed by RP. Total lipids extracted from one gm of liver (median lobe) taken at the end of I, 2 and 6 hr of RP and sham (Sh) surgery (n=5 Ln & Ob) were analyzed by 202.3 MHz 31P NMR, which provided good resolution of individual PL. Obese (Sh) rats contained 22% more PL than Ln (P=<0.01). Ischemia caused similar decreases in PL in both Ob (to 67% Sh) and Ln rats (62%). Following 2 hr RP, PL in Ob rats decreased further (46% Sh) and recovered only marginally at 6 hr (53%), in marked contrast to the rapid recovery in Ln to preischemic levels (110% Sh at both 2 and 6 hr; P=<0.001). Mole percents of individual PL did not change significantly except for lysophosphatidylcholine, which increased from 0.43 to 1.3% (Sh vs. 6 hr RP) in the Ob, but decreased from 0.98 to 0.52% in Ln animals (P=<0.001). Fatty livers thus are more vulnerable to phospholipid depletion in response to warm ischemia/reperfusion than normal livers.
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