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BACKGROUND: Understanding ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) is essential to further improve outcomes after liver transplantation (LT). Porcine isolated liver perfusion (ILP) is increasingly used to reproduce LT-associated IRI in a strictly controlled environment. However, whether ILP is a reliable substitute of LT was never validated. METHODS: We systematically reviewed the current experimental setups for ILP and parameters of interest reflecting IRI. RESULTS: Isolated liver perfusion was never compared with transplantation in animals. Considerable variability exists between setups, and comparative data are unavailable. Experience so far suggests that centrifugal pump(s) with continuous flow are preferred to reduce the risk of embolism. Hepatic outflow can be established by cannulation of the inferior vena cava or freely drained in an open bath. Whole blood at approximately 38°C, hematocrit of 20% or greater, and the presence of leukocytes to trigger inflammation is considered the optimal perfusate. A number of parameters related to the 4 liver compartments (hepatocyte, cholangiocyte, endothelium, immune cells) are available; however, their significance and relation to clinical outcomes is not well described. CONCLUSIONS: Porcine ILP provides a reproducible model to study early IRI events. As all models, it has its limitations. A standardization of the setup would allow comparison of data and progress in the field.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1039 - 1049


Animals, Extracorporeal Circulation, Liver, Liver Transplantation, Models, Animal, Perfusion, Reperfusion Injury, Swine