Leucocyte depletion improves renal function during reperfusion using an experimental isolated haemoperfused organ preservation system

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Leucocytes have been implicated as mediators of renal ischaemia–reperfusion injury. This study aimed to demonstrate the effect of white cells in early renal reperfusion injury using an isolated haemoperfused porcine kidney model.


After 2 h cold storage, porcine kidneys were perfused with normothermic autologous blood using an isolated organ preservation system. This was designed using cardiopulmonary bypass technology, and perfusion commenced with a circulating serum creatinine level of 1000 (μmol/l. In group 1 (n = 6) a leucocyte filter was included in the circuit and in group 2 (n = 6) non-filtered blood was used.


The mean(s.d.) area under the curve for serum creatinine was lower in the leucocyte-depleted experiments (1286(214) versus 2627(418); P = 0·002). Leucocyte depletion also led to improved urine output (191(75) versus 70(32) ml/h; P = 0·002) and higher creatinine clearance (10·6(2·8) versus 1·9(1·0) ml/min; P = 0·002). Renal blood flow, oxygen consumption and acid–base homeostasis were all improved by perfusion with leucocyte-depleted blood, and histological tubular damage was ameliorated.


These data show that the depletion of leucocytes from blood used to perfuse porcine kidneys improved postschaemic renal function, indicating that white cells play an important role in renal ischaemia–reperfusion injury.

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