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The aim of this study was to determine if human decay-accelerating factor (hDAF) protects against hyperacute rejection in an ex vivo liver perfusion system using human blood. Pig livers were perfused ex vivo via the portal vein for an average of 5-6 h using a membrane oxygenator. Three groups were studied. Group I: Wild-type pig livers were alloperfused with fresh pig blood (n = 5). Group II: Wild-type pig livers were xenoperfused with fresh human blood (n = 5). Group III: hDAF transgenic pig livers were xenoperfused with fresh human blood (n = 5). The graft ischemic time, ratio of perfusate volume to liver weight, flow rate, and perfusate hematocrit were similar in each group. The hDAF livers perfused with human blood (Group III) had a lower ALT level, less protein and albumin losses, lower bilirubin levels in the perfusate, less weight gain, and greater bile production than the wild-type livers perfused with human blood. Histology showed classic features of hyperacute rejection in Group II, including massive hemorrhage, severe vasculitits, fibrin and C5b-9 deposition, and endothelial damage within 1 h of perfusion, whereas liver histology studies in Groups I and III were near normal. IgG and IgM deposits were seen in the xenoperfused livers. Electron microscopy (EM) and immuno-EM showed loss of endothelial cells, trapping of white blood cells and platelets, and diffuse fibrin deposits in Group II only. hDAF pig livers perfused with human blood showed superior function and histology when compared with wild-type pig livers. These data suggest that (1) hyperacute rejection may contribute to the inconsistent results using wild-type pig livers for extracorporeal liver support and (2) genetically modified pigs that express hDAF may provide a better donor source than wild-type pigs for extracorporeal liver support.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





36 - 44


Animals, Animals, Genetically Modified, Blood Transfusion, CD55 Antigens, Graft Rejection, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Liver, Organ Preservation, Perfusion, Swine, Transplantation, Heterologous