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BACKGROUND: Ischemic preconditioning (IP) has been shown in animal models to protect livers against ischemia/reperfusion injury. The aim of this clinical study is to investigate whether IP of cadaver livers prior to retrieval confers protection on the allografts. METHODS: Cadaveric donor livers were subjected to IP prior to retrieval by clamping of the hepatic pedicle for 10 min followed by reperfusion. Biopsies were obtained from the preconditioned (n=9) and control nonpreconditioned (n=14) liver transplants prior to and 2 hr following reperfusion. Cryosections were stained with antibodies against neutrophils and platelets. RESULTS: IP livers were associated with significantly lower serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (240+/-98 IU/L vs. 382+/-163 IU/L; P>0.016) and lactate (0.81+/-0.07 mmol/L vs. 1.58+/-0.9 mmol/L; P>0.018) 24 hr following transplantation. Furthermore, recipients of IP livers spent a significantly shorter time in the intensive care unit following transplantation compared to those given nonpreconditioned allografts (1 vs. 2.8+/-1.6 days; P=0.0008). Increases in neutrophil infiltration were detected in 6/14 (43%; P=0.022) and in CD41 deposition in 5/14 (36%; P=0.042) of nonpreconditioned livers. However, none of the IP allografts showed any change in the levels of platelets or neutrophil infiltration following transplantation. CONCLUSION: IP is an effective method of protecting cadaver donor allografts from cold ischemia and subsequent reperfusion injury. IP is also associated with a reduction in the nonspecific inflammatory response.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





169 - 174


Adult, Aged, Animals, Blood Platelets, Cadaver, Case-Control Studies, Female, Graft Survival, Humans, Ischemic Preconditioning, Liver, Liver Transplantation, Male, Middle Aged, Neutrophils, Reperfusion Injury, Transplantation, Homologous