Subnormothermic ex vivo liver perfusion reduces endothelial cell and bile duct injury after donation after cardiac death pig liver transplantation
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An ischemic-type biliary stricture (ITBS) is a common feature after liver transplantation using donation after cardiac death (DCD) grafts. We compared sequential subnormothermic ex vivo liver perfusion (SNEVLP; 33°C) with cold storage (CS) for the prevention of ITBS in DCD liver grafts in pig liver transplantation (n = 5 for each group). Liver grafts were stored for 10 hours at 4°C (CS) or preserved with combined 7-hour CS and 3-hour SNEVLP. Parameters of hepatocyte [aspartate aminotransferase (AST), international normalized ratio (INR), factor V, and caspase 3 immunohistochemistry], endothelial cell (EC; CD31 immunohistochemistry and hyaluronic acid), and biliary injury and function [alkaline phosphatase (ALP), total bilirubin, and bile lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)] were determined. Long-term survival (7 days) after transplantation was similar between the SNEVLP and CS groups (60% versus 40%, P = 0.13). No difference was observed between SNEVLP- and CS-treated animals with respect to the peak of serum INR, factor V, or AST levels within 24 hours. CD31 staining 8 hours after transplantation demonstrated intact EC lining in SNEVLP-treated livers (7.3 × 10(-4) ± 2.6 × 10(-4) cells/μm(2)) but not in CS-treated livers (3.7 × 10(-4) ± 1.3 × 10(-4) cells/μm(2) , P = 0.03). Posttransplant SNEVLP animals had decreased serum ALP and serum bilirubin levels in comparison with CS animals. In addition, LDH in bile fluid was lower in SNEVLP pigs versus CS pigs (14 ± 10 versus 60 ± 18 μmol/L, P = 0.02). Bile duct histology revealed severe bile duct necrosis in 3 of 5 animals in the CS group but none in the SNEVLP group (P = 0.03). Sequential SNEVLP preservation of DCD grafts reduces bile duct and EC injury after liver transplantation.
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