Background. We hypothesized that microcirculatory disturbance was an obstacle to liver transplantation (LTx) from non-heart-beating donors (NHBDs) and that it was attributed mainly to a deterioration of sinusoidal endothelial cells (SECs) and sinusoidal narrowing. This study was designed to examine porcine orthotopic LTx using livers obtained from pretreated agonal NHBDs, and to determine whether the maintenance of the liver microcirculation would result in successful LTx from agonal NHBDs. Methods. Pigs were allocated to five groups: (i) control group; (ii) NM group, in which grafts were rinsed with nafamostat mesilate (NM) rinse; (iii) LD group, in which Kupffer cells in grafts were eliminated by liposome-encapsulated dichloromethylene diphosphonate (L-DMDP); (iv) LDNM group, in which grafts pretreated with L-DMDP were rinsed with NM rinse; (v) heart-beating donor (HBD) group. In all groups, but the HBD group, the livers were pretreated with FK506 and prostaglandin I2 analogue, and were preserved in University of Wisconsin solution after cardiac arrest. Thereafter orthotopic LTx was performed. Results. After reperfusion, it was histologically demonstrated that elimination of Kupffer cells prevented SECs deterioration and NM rinse prevented sinusoidal narrowing. The hepatic energy charge recovered in all groups except the control group. In the LDNM group, three of four recipients survived more than 7 days. Conclusions. For a successful LTx from agonal NHBDs, it is important to prevent microcirculatory disturbance caused by SEC deterioration and sinusoidal narrowing after reperfusion. Combination therapy consisting in the elimination of Kupffer cells and NM rinse prevented primary graft non-function in liver grafts from agonal NHBDs.
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