Breath ethane: A specific indicator of free-radical-mediated lipid peroxidation following reperfusion of the ischemic liver

Manabu Kazui, Kenneth A. Andreoni, Edward J. Norris, Andrew S. Klein, James F. Burdick, Charles Beattie, Shelley S. Sehnert, William R. Bell, Gregory B. Bulkley, Terence H. Risby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


A major component of the organ injury mediated by toxic oxidants, such as seen following reperfusion of the ischemic liver, is due to the peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially of cell membranes. We utilized the measurement of exhaled breath ethane, a metabolic product unique to oxidant-mediated lipid peroxidation, as a noninvasive indicator of this process in swine liver subjected to warm ischemia/reperfusion. Under rigorously controlled anesthesia conditions, pig livers were subjected to 2 h of warm total ischemia, followed by reperfusion in situ. Expired air was collected and its ethane content quantitated by a novel gas chromatographic technique. The time course of breath ethane generation correlated closely with the appearance of hepatocellular injury as measured by impairment of Factor VII generation and other measures of liver integrity. Moreover, the administration of the specific superoxide free radical scavenger, superoxide dismutase (SOD), significantly attenuated both the elaboration of ethane and the hepatocellular injury. These findings not only provide confirmation of the previously reported link between hepatocellular injury by free radicals generated at reperfusion, but also establish the use of expired breath ethane analysis as a sensitive, specific, and noninvasive indicator of the injury process in real time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-515
Number of pages7
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1992


  • Ethane
  • Free radicals
  • Hepatic ischemia
  • Liver
  • Oxidative damage
  • Oxygen free radicals
  • Pigs
  • Reperfusion injury
  • Superoxide dismutase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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