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1.  Criteria for Viability Assessment of Discarded Human Donor Livers during Ex Vivo Normothermic Machine Perfusion 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e110642.
Although normothermic machine perfusion of donor livers may allow assessment of graft viability prior to transplantation, there are currently no data on what would be a good parameter of graft viability. To determine whether bile production is a suitable biomarker that can be used to discriminate viable from non-viable livers we have studied functional performance as well as biochemical and histological evidence of hepatobiliary injury during ex vivo normothermic machine perfusion of human donor livers. After a median duration of cold storage of 6.5 h, twelve extended criteria human donor livers that were declined for transplantation were ex vivo perfused for 6 h at 37°C with an oxygenated solution based on red blood cells and plasma, using pressure controlled pulsatile perfusion of the hepatic artery and continuous portal perfusion. During perfusion, two patterns of bile flow were identified: (1) steadily increasing bile production, resulting in a cumulative output of ≥30 g after 6 h (high bile output group), and (2) a cumulative bile production <20 g in 6 h (low bile output group). Concentrations of transaminases and potassium in the perfusion fluid were significantly higher in the low bile output group, compared to the high bile output group. Biliary concentrations of bilirubin and bicarbonate were respectively 4 times and 2 times higher in the high bile output group. Livers in the low bile output group displayed more signs of hepatic necrosis and venous congestion, compared to the high bile output group. In conclusion, bile production could be an easily assessable biomarker of hepatic viability during ex vivo machine perfusion of human donor livers. It could potentially be used to identify extended criteria livers that are suitable for transplantation. These ex vivo findings need to be confirmed in a transplant experiment or a clinical trial.
PMCID: PMC4219693  PMID: 25369327
2.  α-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone Treatment in Pigs Does Not Improve Early Graft Function in Kidney Transplants from Brain Dead Donors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94609.
Delayed graft function and primary non-function are serious complications following transplantation of kidneys derived from deceased brain dead (DBD) donors. α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) is a pleiotropic neuropeptide and its renoprotective effects have been demonstrated in models of acute kidney injury. We hypothesized that α-MSH treatment of the recipient improves early graft function and reduces inflammation following DBD kidney transplantation. Eight Danish landrace pigs served as DBD donors. After four hours of brain death both kidneys were removed and stored for 18 hours at 4°C in Custodiol preservation solution. Sixteen recipients were randomized in a paired design into two treatment groups, transplanted simultaneously. α-MSH or a vehicle was administered at start of surgery, during reperfusion and two hours post-reperfusion. The recipients were observed for ten hours following reperfusion. Blood, urine and kidney tissue samples were collected during and at the end of follow-up. α-MSH treatment reduced urine flow and impaired recovery of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) compared to controls. After each dose of α-MSH, a trend towards reduced mean arterial blood pressure and increased heart rate was observed. α-MSH did not affect expression of inflammatory markers. Surprisingly, α-MSH impaired recovery of renal function in the first ten hours following DBD kidney transplantation possibly due to hemodynamic changes. Thus, in a porcine experimental model α-MSH did not reduce renal inflammation and did not improve short-term graft function following DBD kidney transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3984270  PMID: 24728087
3.  Hypothermic Oxygenated Machine Perfusion Prevents Arteriolonecrosis of the Peribiliary Plexus in Pig Livers Donated after Circulatory Death 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88521.
Livers derived from donation after circulatory death (DCD) are increasingly accepted for transplantation. However, DCD livers suffer additional donor warm ischemia, leading to biliary injury and more biliary complications after transplantation. It is unknown whether oxygenated machine perfusion results in better preservation of biliary epithelium and the peribiliary vasculature. We compared oxygenated hypothermic machine perfusion (HMP) with static cold storage (SCS) in a porcine DCD model.
After 30 min of cardiac arrest, livers were perfused in situ with HTK solution (4°C) and preserved for 4 h by either SCS (n = 9) or oxygenated HMP (10°C; n = 9), using pressure-controlled arterial and portal venous perfusion. To simulate transplantation, livers were reperfused ex vivo at 37°C with oxygenated autologous blood. Bile duct injury and function were determined by biochemical and molecular markers, and a systematic histological scoring system.
After reperfusion, arterial flow was higher in the HMP group, compared to SCS (251±28 vs 166±28 mL/min, respectively, after 1 hour of reperfusion; p = 0.003). Release of hepatocellular enzymes was significantly higher in the SCS group. Markers of biliary epithelial injury (biliary LDH, gamma-GT) and function (biliary pH and bicarbonate, and biliary transporter expression) were similar in the two groups. However, histology of bile ducts revealed significantly less arteriolonecrosis of the peribiliary vascular plexus in HMP preserved livers (>50% arteriolonecrosis was observed in 7 bile ducts of the SCS preserved livers versus only 1 bile duct of the HMP preserved livers; p = 0.024).
Oxygenated HMP prevents arteriolonecrosis of the peribiliary vascular plexus of the bile ducts of DCD pig livers and results in higher arterial flow after reperfusion. Together this may contribute to better perfusion of the bile ducts, providing a potential advantage in the post-ischemic recovery of bile ducts.
PMCID: PMC3925142  PMID: 24551114
4.  Gaseous Hydrogen Sulfide Protects against Myocardial Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in Mice Partially Independent from Hypometabolism 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63291.
Ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is a major cause of cardiac damage following various pathological processes. Gaseous hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is protective during IRI by inducing a hypometabolic state in mice which is associated with anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We investigated whether gaseous H2S administration is protective in cardiac IRI and whether non-hypometabolic concentrations of H2S have similar protective properties.
Male C57BL/6 mice received a 0, 10, or 100 ppm H2S-N2 mixture starting 30 minutes prior to ischemia until 5 minutes pre-reperfusion. IRI was inflicted by temporary ligation of the left coronary artery for 30 minutes. High-resolution respirometry equipment was used to assess CO2-production and blood pressure was measured using internal transmitters. The effects of H2S were assessed by histological and molecular analysis.
Treatment with 100 ppm H2S decreased CO2-production by 72%, blood pressure by 14% and heart rate by 25%, while treatment with 10 ppm H2S had no effects. At day 1 of reperfusion 10 ppm H2S showed no effect on necrosis, while treatment with 100 ppm H2S reduced necrosis by 62% (p<0.05). Seven days post-reperfusion, both 10 ppm (p<0.01) and 100 ppm (p<0.05) H2S showed a reduction in fibrosis compared to IRI animals. Both 10 ppm and 100 ppm H2S reduced granulocyte-influx by 43% (p<0.05) and 60% (p<0.001), respectively. At 7 days post-reperfusion both 10 and 100 ppm H2S reduced expression of fibronectin by 63% (p<0.05) and 67% (p<0.01) and ANP by 84% and 63% (p<0.05), respectively.
Gaseous administration of H2S is protective when administered during a cardiac ischemic insult. Although hypometabolism is restricted to small animals, we now showed that low non-hypometabolic concentrations of H2S also have protective properties in IRI. Since IRI is a frequent cause of myocardial damage during percutaneous coronary intervention and cardiac transplantation, H2S treatment might lead to novel therapeutical modalities.
PMCID: PMC3651205  PMID: 23675473
5.  CUBN as a Novel Locus for End-Stage Renal Disease: Insights from Renal Transplantation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36512.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a complex disorder. As genome-wide association studies identified cubilin gene CUBN as a locus for albuminuria, and urinary protein loss is a risk factor for progressive CKD, we tested the hypothesis that common genetic variants in CUBN are associated with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and proteinuria. First, a total of 1142 patients with ESRD, admitted for renal transplantation, and 1186 donors were genotyped for SNPs rs7918972 and rs1801239 (case-control study). The rs7918972 minor allele frequency (MAF) was higher in ESRD patients comparing to kidney donors, implicating an increased risk for ESRD (OR 1.39, p = 0.0004) in native kidneys. Second, after transplantation recipients were followed for 5.8 [3.8–9.2] years (longitudinal study) documenting ESRD in transplanted kidneys – graft failure (GF). During post-transplant follow-up 92 (9.6%) cases of death-censored GF occurred. Donor rs7918972 MAF, representing genotype of the transplanted kidney, was 16.3% in GF vs 10.7% in cases with functioning graft. Consistently, a multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that donor rs7918972 is a predictor of GF, although statistical significance was not reached (HR 1.53, p = 0.055). There was no association of recipient rs7918972 with GF. Rs1801239 was not associated with ESRD or GF. In line with an association with the outcome, donor rs7918972 was associated with elevated proteinuria levels cross-sectionally at 1 year after transplantation. Thus, we identified CUBN rs7918972 as a novel risk variant for renal function loss in two independent settings: ESRD in native kidneys and GF in transplanted kidneys.
PMCID: PMC3344899  PMID: 22574174

Results 1-5 (5)