BACKGROUND & AIMS - Low temperature preservation causes unique liver injuries to the sinusoidal lining cells characterized by endothelial cell detachment and rounding and Kupffer cell activation. These changes are similar to those observed during the early stages of angiogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate if cold preservation injury is caused by the activation of angiogenic mechanisms.
METHODS - Livers were obtained from rats pretreated with three well-known antiangiogenic agents (minocycline, interferon alfa-2b, and fumagillin) and were stored for various durations in cold preservation solutions. The effects of the drugs were evaluated by morphometric assessment of endothelial cell injury in H&E, trypan blue, and immunostained (TIE2/Tek) biopsy specimens. Graft functions and survival were evaluated in isolated perfused rat liver and arterialized orthotopic liver transplantation models.
RESULTS - Sinusoidal lining cell integrity and viability were significantly improved in animals pretreated with the drugs. Reperfusion injury and survival were also better in pretreated animals. Interferon alfa was the most potent agent, reducing injury even in livers preserved in the current most commonly used solution (University of Wisconsin solution).
CONCLUSIONS - Cold preservation injury of liver may be the results of angiogenic mechanisms. This novel observation provides a rationale for improved liver preservation using antiangiogenic agents.