Serum hexosaminidase activity (HEX) is elevated with ischemic gut injury. To determine if subsequent decreases in HEX correlate with gut healing, 97 weanling rats were subjected to laparotomy at which alternate vascular bundles were ligated along the base of the entire anterior mesenteric artery arcade. Fifteen rats served as preoperative controls. After recovery, rats were allowed ad lib food and water. Groups were then killed at intervals, blood was drawn for HEX determination, and samples of small bowel were taken for histological evaluation. Microscopically, focal ischemic necrosis began at 6 hr. Between 12 and 48 hr, cellular changes were consistent with progressive ischemic injury. Evidence of healing was apparent beginning at 5 days and these histological changes correlated with changes in HEX. Thus HEX proves useful as a marker for gut healing in this model.
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