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Brain death induces a massive inflammatory response. However, the influence of this inflammatory response on organ procurement, transplantation, and recipient outcome is unknown. We describe the inflammatory response characteristics in brain-dead organ donors and examine associations with organ transplantation and recipient survival. We test the hypothesis that increased inflammatory response is associated with fewer organs transplanted and decreased recipient survival.Prospective, observational, cohort study.Two large intensive care units of tertiary care university hospitals in the United States.We recruited 30 consecutive brain-dead organ donors and 78 recipients between April 11, 2004, and November 23, 2004; recipients were followed through May 2005. Following declaration of brain death, we collected data on donor demographics, mechanism of brain death, number of organs procured and transplanted, and recipient characteristics. Plasma cytokines (tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-6, interleukin-10) were measured in donors at baseline following study enrollment, every hour for the first 4 hrs, and immediately before organ procurement for transplantation.None.We examined the relationships among clinical characteristics, demographics, and cytokine response in donors and their influence on organ procurement and transplantation using multivariable regression and recipient’s 6-month hospital-free survival using a Cox proportional hazards regression. One hundred-eighteen organs were procured from 30 donors, and 91 (77%) were transplanted (mean of three organs transplanted per donor). All cytokines were increased following brain death. Older age in donors was significantly associated with lower number of organs transplanted (p < .001). Higher plasma interleukin-6 concentrations in donors before organ procurement was significantly associated with lower 6-month hospital-free survival in recipients (hazard ratio 1.77; 95% confidence interval, 1.17–2.69, p < .007).Among brain-dead organ donors, older age donors contribute fewer organs for transplantation, and increased donor interleukin-6 level before organ procurement is associated with lower recipient six-month hospital-free survival.