Background: Hypothermic oxygenated machine perfusion (HOPE) reduces ischemia-reperfusion injury of donor livers and is increasingly used in clinical transplantation. However, it remains unclear whether perfusion via the portal vein alone (HOPE) or via both the portal vein and hepatic artery (dual HOPE or DHOPE) is superior.
Methods: Twelve porcine livers donated after circulatory death were randomized for 2 h of HOPE (n = 6) or DHOPE (n = 6), followed by 4 h of warm reperfusion with whole blood, to mimic transplantation. Hepatobiliary and endothelial cell function and injury markers were determined in perfusate and bile samples. Biopsies of bile ducts, hepatic arteries, and liver parenchyma were collected to assess histological damage and the expression of endothelial protective genes (KLF-2, eNOS, ET-1, CD31, VWF, VEGF-A).
Results: There were no differences in hepatobiliary function and injury after warm reperfusion between the groups, apart from a 2-fold lower concentration of alanine aminotransferase in the perfusate (P = 0.045) and a lower peak lactate dehydrogenase in bile (P = 0.04) of livers preserved by DHOPE. Endothelial cell function and injury, as assessed by perfusate nitric oxide and von Willebrand factor antigen levels, as well as endothelial protective gene expressions, were similar between the groups. The hepatic arteries of both groups showed no microscopic evidence of injury.
Conclusions: This study did not reveal major differences in hepatobiliary or endothelial function and injury after preservation by single or dual HOPE of porcine livers donated after circulatory death.