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Although agents that inhibit complement activation may be beneficial in discordant xenotransplantation, it is not known whether local complement activation occurs and is deleterious after isogeneic lung transplantation. Lungs were harvested from Lewis rats subjected to 4 °C 6-hr preservation followed by transplantation into strain-, gender-, and weight-matched recipients. Transplanted lungs demonstrated increased immunostaining for C5b-9 compared with nontransplanted controls, confirming local complement activation in this isograft model. To investigate the physiologic relevance of complement activation in the transplanted lung, the native pulmonary artery was ligated after transplantation, and pulmonary vascular resistance (mmHg/ml/min), arterial oxygenation (mmHg), graft neutrophil infiltration (myeloperoxidase activity, ΔAbs 460 nm/min), and recipient survival were measured at 30 min. Animals received either saline (control; n=22) or soluble complement receptor type-1 (sCR1, 15 mg/kg; n=19) 2 min before reperfusion. Animals treated with sCR1 showed a marked reduction in serum complement hemolytic activity (CH50; 90% lower than that of control animals,P<0.001). Compared with controls, sCR1-treated animals showed reduced pulmonary vascular resistance (2.9±1.1 vs. 8.5±1.5 mmHg/ml/min, P<0.05), improved arterial oxygenation (194±34 vs. 91±17 mmHg,P<0.05), decreased neutrophil infiltration (35% decrease, P<0.005), and improved recipient survival(74% vs. 23%, P<0.005). In parallel with the reduction in complement hemolytic activity in sCR1-treated animals, immunohistology of the transplanted lung revealed decreased C5b-9 deposition compared with controls. Taken together, these data indicate that complement activation occurs after lung preservation and transplantation in an isograft model, and that inhibiting complement activation improves outcome after transplantation.