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Acute lung injury remains a challenge for both clinicians and scientists. The effects ofPanax notoginsengsaponins (PNS) on acute lung injury induced by intestinal ischaemia/reperfusion (II/R) were studied in rats.Forty-eight Wistar rats were randomly assigned to four groups: (1) a sham-operated group that received laparotomy without II/R (n= 12); (2) a sham + PNS group, which was identical to group 1 except for PNS treatment (n= 12); (3) an II/R group that had 1 h of intestinal ischaemia followed by 3 h of reperfusion (n= 12); and (4) an II/R + PNS group that received 100 mg/kg of PNS, i.v., 15 min before reperfusion (n= 12). The effects of PNS administration on lung tissue histology, activities of oxidant and antioxidant enzymes, levels of malondialdehyde, nitric oxide and inducible nitric oxide synthase activity were examined. Levels of surfactant protein B, cell numbers in BAL fluid and plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were also examined.Compared with the II/R group, pulmonary parenchymal damage, activities of oxidant enzymes, levels of malondialdehyde and nitric oxide, inducible nitric oxide synthase activity in lung tissue, and plasma levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were significantly reduced by PNS treatment. In addition, the decreases in antioxidant enzyme activities were prevented in the II/R + PNS group. Total leukocyte and neutrophil counts were significantly decreased by PNS treatment. The decline in surfactant protein B levels in BAL fluid was reduced in the II/R + PNS group compared with the II/R group.Administration of PNS before reperfusion injury alleviates acute lung injury induced by II/R, and this is attributable to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of PNS.