The Use of an Acellular Oxygen Carrier in a Human Liver Model of Normothermic Machine Perfusion

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Normothermic machine perfusion of the liver (NMP-L) is a novel technique that preserves liver grafts under near-physiological conditions while maintaining their normal metabolic activity. This process requires an adequate oxygen supply, typically delivered by packed red blood cells (RBC). We present the first experience using an acellular hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier (HBOC) Hemopure in a human model of NMP-L.


Five discarded high-risk human livers were perfused with HBOC-based perfusion fluid and matched to 5 RBC-perfused livers. Perfusion parameters, oxygen extraction, metabolic activity, and histological features were compared during 6 hours of NMP-L. The cytotoxicity of Hemopure was also tested on human hepatic primary cell line cultures using an in vitro model of ischemia reperfusion injury.


The vascular flow parameters and the perfusate lactate clearance were similar in both groups. The HBOC-perfused livers extracted more oxygen than those perfused with RBCs (O2 extraction ratio 13.75 vs 9.43 % ×105 per gram of tissue, P = 0.001). In vitro exposure to Hemopure did not alter intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species, and there was no increase in apoptosis or necrosis observed in any of the tested cell lines. Histological findings were comparable between groups. There was no evidence of histological damage caused by Hemopure.


Hemopure can be used as an alternative oxygen carrier to packed red cells in NMP-L perfusion fluid.

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