The onset of brain death (BD) leads to the deterioration of potential donor lungs. Methylprednisolone is considered to increase lung oxygenation capacity and enhance the procurement yield of donor lungs, when applied in situ, during donor management. However, whether BD-induced lung damage is ameliorated upon treatment with methylprednisolone during acellular ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP), remains unknown. We aimed to investigate whether the quality of lungs from brain-dead donors improves upon methylprednisolone treatment during EVLP.
Methods: Rat lungs were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental groups (n = 8/group): (1) healthy, directly procured lungs subjected to EVLP; (2) lungs from brain-dead rats subjected to cold storage and EVLP; and (3) lungs from brain-dead rats subjected to cold storage and EVLP with 40 mg methylprednisolone added to the perfusate. Ventilation and perfusion parameters, histology, edema formation, metabolic profile, and inflammatory status of lungs were investigated.
Results: Methylprednisolone treated lungs from brain-dead donors improved positive inspiratory pressures needed to maintain tidal volumes of 7 mL/kg of body weight, which was 25.6 ± 5.8 cm H2O in untreated lungs and 18.0 ± 3.0 cm H2O in methylprednisolone treated lungs, after 6 h EVLP. Furthermore, dynamic lung compliance increased upon methylprednisolone treatment, with values of 0.11 ± 0.05 mL/cm H2O versus 0.18 ± 0.04 mL/cm H2O after 6 h of EVLP. Methylprednisolone treatment ameliorated the amount of lung edema, as corroborated by a reduction of 0.7 in the wet/dry ratio. Although glucose consumption levels were comparable, the BD-induced cumulative lactate production decreased from 0.44 ± 0.26 to 0.11 ± 0.16 mmol/L upon methylprednisolone treatment. Finally, BD-induced inflammatory status was reduced upon methylprednisolone treatment compared to untreated lungs from brain-dead donors, as reflected by lower proinflammatory gene expression levels of IL-1β, IL-6 and MCP-1, and IL-6 perfusate levels.
Conclusions: We showed that methylprednisolone treatment during EVLP attenuates BD-induced lung injury.