The effect of pentoxifyllin in a rat model of renal ischemic reperfusion injury, light, transmission, and scanning electron microscopical study

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Renal ischemic/reperfusion injury remains a major problem in renal transplantation and anesthesia. Pentoxifylline (PTX) is commonly used to treat peripheral vascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

Aim of the work

The aim of the work was to demonstrate the histological effect of ischemia reperfusion on the kidney and to detect the possible protective role of PTX.

Materials and methods

Adult male rats were divided into three groups. Group I was the control group, in group II, renal ischemia was induced for 30min, followed by reperfusion for 24h, and in group III, the animals received PTX 4mg/rat/day intraperitoneally for 3 days, and then an ischemia–reperfusion procedure was carried out. At the end of the experiment, the kidneys were dissected and processed for light, transmission, and scanning electron microscopical study.


Group II showed focal affection of the kidney whereas some of the glomeruli appeared small and atrophic. The epithelium of proximal convoluted tubules showed vacuolation of the cytoplasm with a detached apical part and their lumena contained cellular debris. The distal convoluted tubules showed loss of the supranuclear cytoplasm of their lining cells. In the medulla, the collecting tubules were dilated and contained casts in their lumena. Transmission electron microscopy revealed disruption of the glomerular basement membrane. Proximal convoluted tubules and distal convoluted tubules showed cytoplasmic vacuolation, degenerated mitochondria, and destroyed brush borders. Scanning electron microscopy revealed glomeruli with an absence of their covering podocytes and destruction of their glomerular capillaries. The collecting tubules showed complete flattening of their lining cells. In group III, the kidney relatively retained their histological architecture. There was a significant decrease in the mean glomerular surface area in groups II and III in comparison with the control group. However, group III showed a significant increase in comparison with group II.


The present study concluded that PTX could protect and reduce the severity of renal ischemic reperfusion injury.

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