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BACKGROUND: Liver T-cells respond to the inflammatory insult generated during organ procurement and contribute to the injury following reperfusion. The mode of liver donation alters various metabolic and inflammatory pathways but the way it affects intrahepatic T-cells is still unclear. METHODS: We investigated the modifications occurring in the proportion and function of T-cells during liver procurement for transplantation. We isolated hepatic mononuclear cells (HMC) from liver perfusate of living donors (LD) and donors after brain death (DBD) or cardiac death (DCD) and assessed the frequency of T-cell subsets, their cytokine secretion profile and CD8 T-cell cytotoxicity function, responsiveness to a danger associated molecular pattern (High Mobility Group Box1, HMGB1) and association with donor and recipient clinical parameters and immediate graft outcome. RESULTS: We found that T-cells in healthy human livers were enriched in memory CD8 T-cells exhibiting a phenotype of non-circulating tissue-associated lymphocytes, functionally dominated by more cytotoxicity and IFN-γ-production in DBD donors, including upon activation by HMGB1 and correlating with peak of post-transplant AST. This liver-specific pattern of CD8 T-cell was prominent in DBD livers compared to DCD and LD livers suggesting that it was influenced by events surrounding brain death, prior to retrieval. CONCLUSION: Mode of liver donation can affect liver T-cells with increased liver damage in DBD donors. These findings may be relevant in designing therapeutic strategies aimed at organ optimization prior to transplantation.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Adult, Aged, Antigens, Surface, Cytokines, Cytotoxicity, Immunologic, HMGB1 Protein, Humans, Immunologic Memory, Immunophenotyping, Liver, Liver Transplantation, Middle Aged, Perfusion, T-Lymphocyte Subsets, T-Lymphocytes, Tissue Donors, Tissue and Organ Procurement, Transplant Recipients, Young Adult