Role of perfluorochemical emulsions in the treatment of myocardial reperfusion injury

Mervyn B. Forman, David A. Ingram, John J. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations


Perfluorochemicals are substances with small particle size, low viscosity, and high oxygen-carrying capacity. The role of one perfluorochemical preparation, Fluosol, and emulsion of two perfluorocarbons, a detergent Pluronic F-68 (poloxamer 188), and phospholipids on myocardial reperfusion injury was investigated in a closed-chest canine model of regional ischemia. Intracoronary and intravenous infusions of Fluosol in the perireperfusion period significantly reduced infarct size and improved ventricular function in animals that were examined for up to 2 weeks after reperfusion. Fluosol preserved endothelial structure and endothelium-dependent relaxation of large and small vessels. Fluosol reduced neutrophil plugging of capillaries and attenuated neutrophil infiltration into the reperfused bed. Ex vivo studies of neutrophil function demonstrated apparent suppression of chemotaxis and lysozyme degranulation in cells from animals that were treated with Fluosol. However, treatment of cells in vitro manifested enhanced superoxide anion production within 5 minutes of incubation even with low concentrations of Fluosol. This effect was found to be almost entirely attributable to the detergent, Pluronic F-68. The stimulation of neutrophils by Fluosol was found to result directly from phagocytosis and indirectly from activation of the complement cascade. These findings suggest that perfluorochemicals may provide a novel form of therapy to enhance myocardial salvage after successful reperfusion. The mechanism appears to be due to stimulation and subsequent "deactivation" of neutrophils peripherally, which thereby reduces their cytotoxic potential in the reperfused myocardium. The role of the oxygen-carrying ability of the perfluorocarbons in the reduction of reperfusion injury remains to be determined. In a pilot study in human beings, Fluosol that was used as adjunctive therapy with angioplasty has also been shown to improve regional ventricular function. Clinical trials with perfluorochemical emulsions appear warranted to determine the role of reperfusion injury in limiting myocardial salvage in patients who are undergoing pharmacologic or mechanical reperfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1347-1357
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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