AIM: To assess the hepatic changes after induction of different periods of renal ischemia. METHODS: Rats were subjected to either sham operation or ischemia (30, 45 and 60 min) followed by 60 min reperfusion. Liver and renal functional indices were measured. Hepatic glutathione (GSH) and ferric reducing antioxidant power levels and the concentration of interleukin (IL)-10 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) were evaluated. Portions of liver and kidney tissues were fixed for histological evaluation. RESULTS: Forty-five minutes renal ischemia followed by 60 min reperfusion caused significant changes in liver structure and a significant reduction in renal function. These rats showed a significant decrease in liver GSH, as well as a significant increase in TNF-alpha and IL-10 concentrations. These results demonstrated that renal ischemia caused changes in liver histology, function, oxidative stress and inflammatory status, which led to a reduction in hepatic antioxidant capacity. With 30 min ischemia, the magnitude of these changes was less than those with 45 or 60 min ischemia. CONCLUSION: A minimum of 45 min ischemia is needed to study the effects of renal injury on the liver as a remote organ. (C) 2009 The WJG Press and Baishideng. All rights reserved.