Inflammatory Responses in a New Mouse Model of Prolonged Hepatic Cold Ischemia Followed By Arterialized Orthotopic Liver Transplantation

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The current models of liver ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI) in mice are largely limited to a warm ischemic component. To investigate the mechanism of hepatic “cold” IRI, we developed and validated a new mouse model of prolonged cold preservation followed by syngeneic orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Two hundred and forty-three OLTs with or without rearterialization and preservation in University of Wisconsin solution at 4°C were performed in Balb/c mice. The 14-day survivals in the nonarterialized OLT groups were 92% (11/12), 82% (9/11), and 8% (1/12) after 1-hour, 6-hour and 24-hour preservation, respectively. In contrast, hepatic artery reconstruction after 1-hour, 6-hour, and 24-hour preservation improved the outcome as evidenced by 2-week survival of 100% (12/12), 100% (10/10), and 33% (4/12), respectively, and diminished hepatocellular damage (serum alanine aminotransferase /histology). Moreover, 24-hour (but not 1-h) cold preservation of rearterialized OLTs increased hepatic CD4+ T-cell infiltration and proinflammatory cytokine (tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin 2, interferon-γ) production, as well as enhanced local apoptosis, and Toll-like receptor 4/caspase 3 expression. These cardinal features of hepatic IRI validate the model. In conclusion, we have developed and validated a new mouse model of IRI in which hepatic artery reconstruction was mandatory for long-term animal survival after prolonged (24-h) OLT preservation. With the availability of genetically manipulated mouse strains, this model should provide important insights into the mechanism of antigen-independent hepatic IRI and help design much needed refined therapeutic means to combat hepatic IRI in the clinics.

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