Objective: We sought to investigate the biological effects of pre-reperfusion treatments of the liver after warm and cold ischemic injuries in a porcine donation after circulatory death model. Summary of Background Data: Donation after circulatory death represents a severe form of liver ischemia and reperfusion injury that has a profound impact on graft function after liver transplantation. Methods: Twenty donor pig livers underwent 60 minutes of in situ warm ischemia after circulatory arrest and 120 minutes of cold static preservation prior to simulated transplantation using an ex vivo perfusion machine. Four reperfusion treatments were compared: Control-Normothermic (N), Control- Subnormothermic (S), regulated hepatic reperfusion (RHR)-N, and RHR-S (n = 5 each). The biochemical, metabolic, and transcriptomic profiles, as well as mitochondrial function were analyzed. Results: Compared to the other groups, RHR-S treated group showed significantly lower post-reperfusion aspartate aminotransferase levels in the reperfusion effluent and histologic findings of hepatocyte viability and lesser degree of congestion and necrosis. RHR-S resulted in a significantly higher mitochondrial respiratory control index and calcium retention capacity. Transcriptomic profile analysis showed that treatment with RHR-S activated cell survival and viability, cellular homeostasis as well as other biological functions involved in tissue repair such as cytoskeleton or cytoplasm organization, cell migration, transcription, and microtubule dynamics. Furthermore, RHR-S inhibited organismal death, morbidity and mortality, necrosis, and apoptosis. Conclusion: Subnormothermic RHR mitigates IRI and preserves hepatic mitochondrial function after warm and cold hepatic ischemia. This organ resuscitative therapy may also trigger the activation of protective genes against IRI. Sub- normothermic RHR has potential applicability to clinical liver transplantation.
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