The rabbit rectus femoris muscle was evaluated as a potential model for skeletal muscle reperfusion injury studies. Six white New Zealand rabbits were used. On one randomly selected hind limb, ischemia was induced by direct clamping of the rectus femoris muscle's vascular pedicle. On the other side, blood flow was interrupted by clamping the femoral artery above and below the origin of the vascular pedicle that supplies the rectus femoris muscle. The duration of normothermic ischemia was 4 hr and was followed by 24 hr of normothermic reperfusion. The interruption and restoration of blood flow was monitored using a laser flow meter. The rectus femoris muscles were weighed on a suspension spring balance prior to ischemia and at the end of reperfusion to estimate edema. The extent of muscle necrosis was determined using planimetry following staining with nitroblue tetrazolium. The muscle necrosis obtained by direct clamping of the vascular pedicle (66.9 ± 14.3%) was significantly greater than that obtained by indirect clamping (18.6 ± 11.4%) (P < 0.03 by t test). Unlike the indirect clamping technique, direct clamping achieved a good magnitude of muscle necrosis, thus allowing that specific model to be used in skeletal muscle reperfusion injury studies. The muscle weight gain observed in the direct clamping muscle group was 19.8 ± 9.0% and was significantly greater than that observed in the opposite group being 6.3 ± 6.5% (P < 0.05 by t test). The rabbit rectus femoris muscle is a suitable model for evaluating skeletal muscle reperfusion injury provided that direct clamping of the vascular pedicle is utilized.
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