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HPB Surgery
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 236406, 8 pages
Research Article

Ischemic Preconditioning of Rat Livers from Non-Heart-Beating Donors Decreases Parenchymal Cell Killing and Increases Graft Survival after Transplantation

1Department of Cell & Developmental Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
2Center for Cell Death, Injury & Regeneration, Departments of Pharmaceutical & Biomedical Sciences and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA

Received 17 February 2012; Revised 12 June 2012; Accepted 13 June 2012

Academic Editor: Peter Schemmer

Copyright © 2012 Robert T. Currin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A critical shortage of donors exists for liver transplantation, which non-heart-beating cadaver donors could help ease. This study evaluated ischemic preconditioning to improve graft viability after non-heart-beating liver donation in rats. Ischemic preconditioning was performed by clamping the portal vein and hepatic artery for 10 min followed by unclamping for 5 min. Subsequently, the aorta was cross-clamped for up to 120 min. After 2 h of storage, livers were either transplanted or perfused with warm buffer containing trypan blue. Aortic clamping for 60 and 120 min prior to liver harvest markedly decreased 30-day graft survival from 100% without aortic clamping to 50% and 0%, respectively, which ischemic preconditioning restored to 100 and 50%. After 60 min of aortic clamping, loss of viability of parenchymal and nonparenchymal cells was 22.6 and 5.6%, respectively, which preconditioning decreased to 3.0 and 1.5%. Cold storage after aortic clamping further increased parenchymal and non-parenchymal cell killing to 40.4 and 10.1%, respectively, which ischemic preconditioning decreased to 12.4 and 1.8%. In conclusion, ischemic preconditioning markedly decreased cell killing after subsequent sustained warm ischemia. Most importantly, ischemic preconditioning restored 100% graft survival of livers harvested from non-heart-beating donors after 60 min of aortic clamping.