The choice of an intravenous solution for the attenuation of ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) lung injury is still a difficult one. Although 10% (w/v) pentastarch has been used in ICU settings, its use in I/R lung injury has not been well explored. We hypothesized that this synthetic colloid substance, which maintains colloid osmotic pressure and potentially ‘seals’ capillary leaks, in combination with an anti-inflammatory agent (i.e. dexamethasone), would ameliorate I/R lung injury. After 60 min of lung ischaemia in an isolated rat lung model, lungs were reperfused for 60 min in a closed circulating system with one of the following solutions: (1) NS (0.9% normal saline), (2) NS+Dex (dexamethasone), (3) NS+Penta (pentastarch), or (4) NS+Penta+Dex. Haemodynamic changes, lung weight gain (LWG), capillary filtration coefficient (Kfc) and lung pathology were analysed. Results showed significantly lower values of Kfc and LWG in pentastarch- or dexamethasone-perfused groups as compared with those in the NS group. Dexamethasone as an additive to NS+Penta further decreased Kfc and LWG. Histopathological studies showed similar decreases in injury profiles. We conclude that reperfusion with dexamethasone and pentastarch can attenuate I/R lung injury, and that dexamethasone and pentastarch have additive effects. Our data thus suggest that the combination of a colloid substance with ‘sealing effects’ and an anti-inflammatory agent may provide a better reperfusion solution for patients with I/R lung injury or for lungs stored for transplant.

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