Objectives To study a cutaneous flap in an animal model for platelet and leukocyte dynamics after ischemia-reperfusion injury and to explain how such a model is relevant to the understanding of reconstructive flaps in a clinical setting.
Methods Cutaneous flaps based on the inferior epigastric artery were raised on C57BL/6 mice and were subjected to various periods of ischemia followed by reperfusion. We used intravital microscopy to observe and characterize platelet and leukocyte interactions within the microvasculature.
Results Platelet and leukocyte adherence to the microvasculature was greater after a longer reperfusion period in contrast to the adherence pattern seen after a shorter reperfusion period. Leukocyte rolling activity occurred at a greater rate after longer ischemia and shorter reperfusion periods, whereas the rate of platelet saltation occurred after shorter ischemia and longer reperfusion periods.
Conclusions With the establishment of an animal model of cutaneous flaps to study cellular dynamics within the microvasculature after ischemia-reperfusion injury, further investigation into the cellular and molecular characteristics of such injury and the analysis of pharmacological interventions is warranted.