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Ischaemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is an inevitable process in transplantation and results in inflammation and immune system activation. Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) has anti-inflammatory properties. Normothermic machine perfusion (NMP) can be used to deliver therapies and may help in assessing the effects of IRI and immunity. This study investigated the effects of AAT on IRI and inflammation in pig kidneys when administered during preservation, followed by normothermic reperfusion (NR) with autologous whole blood, as a surrogate for transplant. Two different models were used to deliver AAT or placebo to paired slaughterhouse pig kidneys: Model 1: 7-h static cold storage (SCS) + 3-h NR (n = 5 pairs), where either AAT (10 mg/ml) or placebo was delivered in the flush following retrieval; Model 2: 4-h SCS + 3-h NMP + 3-h NR (n = 5 pairs), where either AAT or placebo was delivered during NMP. Injury markers and cytokines levels were analysed in the perfusate, and heat shock protein 70 KDa (HSP-70) was analysed in biopsies. AAT delivered to kidneys showed no adverse effects on perfusion parameters. HSP-70 fold changes were significantly lower in the AAT group during NMP (P < 0.01, paired t-test) but not during NR. Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) fold changes were significantly higher in the AAT group during NR model 1 (p < 0.05, two-way ANOVA). In contrast to the AAT group, significant upregulation of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) between t = 90 min and t = 180 min and interleukin-8 (IL-8) between baseline and t = 90 min was observed in the control group in NR model 2 (p < 0.05, Tukey's multiple comparison test). However, overall inflammatory cytokines and injury markers showed similar levels between groups. Delivery of AAT to pig kidneys was safe without any detrimental effects. NMP and NR provided excellent methods for comparison of inflammation and immune activation in the delivery of a novel therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Immunol

Publication Date





alpha-1 antitrypsin, cytokines, immune activation, inflammatory response, ischaemia–reperfusion injury, kidney transplantation, normothermic machine perfusion, Animals, Cytokines, Inflammation, Kidney, Perfusion, Reperfusion, Swine