Background: High mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB1) has recently been shown to be an important late mediator of endotoxic shock and sepsis. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of HMGB1 in response to ischemia-reperfusion injury. Methods: Ischemia-reperfusion injury was induced in male Wistar rats by clamping the superior mesenteric artery for 60 min. Using this model, the serum concentrations and localization of HMGB1 were investigated. The histologic findings from reperfused intestines and the survival rates were compared between the anti-HMGB1 antibody treatment groups (group A treated with 6.0 mg/kg antibody and group B with 0.6 mg/kg antibody) and the control antibody treatment group (control group). Results: Serum HMGB1 concentrations increased early after reperfusion and peaked at 3 h. Immunohistochemistry for HMGB1 revealed a high degree of positive staining in the epithelial cells of the damaged villi. Anti-HMGB1 antibody treatment significantly reduced this damage (P < 0.05) and improved the 48-h survival rate (90% in group A versus 50% in the controls; P < 0.05). Conclusions: These results suggest that HMGB1 plays a key role in small intestinal ischemia-reperfusion injury.
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