Aims: Machine perfusion at subnormothermic temperature (20°C), MP20, was developed by Vairetti et al. and showed to afford a better preservation of fatty livers respect to traditional cold storage (CS) in terms of enzyme release into the perfusate and bile, glycogen stores, energy charge and oxidative stress. Here we investigated whether it also caused decreased cell death by apoptosis. Methods and results: Fatty and lean Zucker rats were submitted to MP20 or CS for 6h and reperfused normothermically for 2h. Apoptotic cells were revealed by immunohistochemistry of activated caspase-3 and M30 (new epitope on CK18 degraded by caspase-3) and by the TUNEL assay. Portal pressure was also determined. A statistically significant reduction of hepatocyte apoptosis, but especially of sinusoidal cells was determined for fatty livers submitted to MP20 respect to CS. Portal pressure was significantly lower after MP20 respect to CS. Conclusions: The reduction of sinusoidal cell death by apoptosis without need for anti-apoptotic therapies appears particularly positive since apoptotic sinusoidal cells hinder microcirculation in the sinusoids and are thrombogenic. These results further confirm the potential of MP20 for preserving fatty livers that would be otherwise discarded as grafts, and thus for increasing the donor pool for liver transplantation.
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