Intralobular heterogeneity of oxidative stress and its topographic relationship with cell death during low-flow hypoxia were shown in perfused rat liver by digital microfluorography using dichlorofluorescin diacetate, a fluorochrome sensitive to intracellular hydroperoxide formation, and propidium iodide, which labels the nuclei of nonviable cells. The surface of the liver loaded with two precursors was microscopically visualized, and the fluorescence of dichlorofluorescein, a highly fluorescent molecule generated by hydroperoxide-mediated dichlorofluorescin oxidation, was digitally processed. Dichlorofluorescein fluorescence significantly increased in midzonal regions as early as 20 minutes after starting the 25% low-flow hypoxia. At 40 minutes the fluorograph showed multiple dotted patterns, and the intensity peaked at 60 minutes. The onset of cell death studied by propidium iodide was observed at 40 minutes, and its topographic distribution corresponded to the dichlorofluorescein-enhanced midzonal regions. Allopurinol diminished the early midzonal oxidative stress and retarded the onset of cell death. The current findings show that xanthine oxidase-dependent oxidative stress and the resultant cell death during low-flow hypoxia are spatially restricted in the intermediate zone between the periportal and pericentral regions.
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