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BACKGROUND: Brain death donors are frequently used for transplantation. Previous studies showed that brain death (BD) negatively affects the immunological and inflammatory status of both liver and kidney. Because the intestine is increasingly used as a donor organ and no information on effects of BD on small intestine is available we performed this study. METHODS: We studied the inflammatory and apoptotic changes in donor intestine after BD induction. Brain death was induced in rats by inflation of a balloon catheter. Three groups (n=6) were compared: 1-hr BD, 4-hr BD, and sham-operated controls. RESULTS: An increased polymorphonuclear cell influx in ileum, as a measure of inflammation, was observed in 1- and 4-hr BD group compared with controls. Jejunum showed a significant increase at the 4-hr BD group compared with the control group. Intercellular adhesion molecule-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, E-selectin, and interleukin-6 were upregulated after 1- and 4-hr BD. Caspase-3 positive cells were found in jejunum and ileum after 4-hr BD on the top of the villi. Serum interleukin-6 was severely elevated in the 1- and 4-hr brain dead rats. CONCLUSION: These data show the early occurrence of intestinal inflammation and apoptosis after BD induction. These events may ultimately have a negative influence on the outcome of intestinal transplantation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





148 - 154


Animals, Apoptosis, Brain Death, Caspase 3, Cytokines, Disease Models, Animal, Enteritis, Ileum, Immunohistochemistry, Inflammation Mediators, Jejunum, Male, Neutrophils, Organ Transplantation, RNA, Messenger, Rats, Rats, Inbred F344, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Time Factors