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BACKGROUND: Organs used for transplantation may experience long periods of cold ischemic preservation and consequently oxygen free radical-mediated damage following reperfusion. Lecithinized superoxide dismutase (lec-SOD) is a novel free radical scavenger that has been shown to bind with high affinity to cell membranes. The aim of this study was to determine whether lec-SOD bound to endothelial cells under organ preservation conditions to mediate direct antioxidant activity at the endothelial cell surface and thus offer protection against the harmful effects of ischemia/reperfusion injury. METHODS: An in vitro study was performed on large vessel endothelial cells (HUVEC) and a human microvascular endothelial cell line HMEC-1, to investigate the potential therapeutic benefits of incorporating lec-SOD into organ preservation solution. A cold hypoxia/reoxygenation system was developed to examine lec-SOD binding affinity to endothelial cells, protection against hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced cell death, and neutrophil adhesion. RESULTS: Lec-SOD bound to endothelial cells with higher affinity than unmodified recombinant human superoxide dismutase (rhSOD) and significantly protected both HUVEC and HMEC-1 from cell death following 27 hours of cold hypoxia (P < 0.01). Furthermore, neutrophil adhesion to the endothelium stimulated by hypoxia and reoxygenation was significantly inhibited by treatment with lec-SOD but not by lecithin or rhSOD (P < 0.01). Analysis by flow cytometry demonstrated that E-selectin and ICAM-1 were up-regulated by hypoxia/reoxygenation that was inhibited in part by lec-SOD. CONCLUSIONS: The results from this study suggest that incorporation of lec-SOD into organ preservation solutions provides effective protection to endothelial cells against cold ischemia and reperfusion injury following transplantation.

Original publication




Journal article


Kidney Int

Publication Date





786 - 796


Antioxidants, Cell Adhesion, Cell Death, Cells, Cultured, Cryopreservation, E-Selectin, Endothelium, Vascular, Flow Cytometry, Free Radicals, Humans, Hypertonic Solutions, Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1, Kidney Transplantation, Neutrophils, Organ Preservation Solutions, Phosphatidylcholines, Reperfusion Injury, Superoxide Dismutase, Umbilical Veins