PURPOSE: Liver cell damage after ischemia and reperfusion injury has been a major cause of death after liver surgery. Yet there have been no exact and practical guidelines for assessing liver cell damage after ischemia and reperfusion injury. The aim of this study was to estimate the liver cell viability after ischemia and reperfusion injury. METHODS: A 70% partial liver occlusion model with employing Spraque Dawley Rats was used. The ATP content of the liver tissue, the palmitic acid metabolic rate and the histologic change (H/E, TUNEL stain) were all measured at 30 minute intervals to assess liver cell viability during 120 minutes of ischemia. At 24 hours reperfusion after 30, 60 and 120 minutes ischemia, the same parameters and the AST/ALT level in the blood were measured. RESULTS: The ATP content was decreased below 20% compared to normal liver after ischemia, but there were no significant changes in the histology and the palmitic acid metabolic rate during 120 minutes ischemia. At 24 hours reperfusion after 30, 60 and 120 minutes ischemia, the ATP content was decreased to around 50% in all the groups and the palmitic acid metabolic rate was decreased 90.9+/-2.4%, 80.0+/-5.3% and 79.1+/-7.7%, respectively, compared to the control liver. But histologic change was not as great as the change in the ATP content and the palmitic acid metabolic rate. CONCLUSION: Judging by these results, liver has relatively good tolerance during ischemia, but after reperfusion, the liver showed damage depending on the duration of ischemia. This study might be very helpful as a guide line of liver damage after ischemia and reperfusion in both clinical practice and basic research.