Management of Ischemia and Brain Death-Associated Injuries in Porcine Kidney Grafts

Abstract: Organs from deceased donors after brain death (BD) remain the major source of organs for transplantation. The catastrophic event of BD and the inevitable consequences of ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) are linked to impaired graft quality and transplantation outcome. The aim of this thesis was to create a BD model in pigs to assess early effects on IRI in kidneys preserved with an oxygenated solution and to evaluate the protective effects of coating the renal vessel walls with a heparin conjugate during hypothermic machine perfusion (HMP).Brain death was achieved by raising the intracranial pressure (ICP) through stepwise increasing the volume of an epidurally placed balloon to the point of exceeding the mean arterial pressure (MAP) creating a negative cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP). This reproducible, clinically relevant experimental model makes evaluation of potential targeted methods to protect the organs possible. Kidneys retrieved from brain-dead pigs were preserved either in an oxygenated emulsion composed of 75% histidine-tryptophan-ketoglutarate (HTK) and 25% perfluorohexyloctane F6H8 or HTK alone. After 18h of cold storage the kidneys were transplanted into allogeneic pigs. F6H8 was associated with replenishment of adenosine triphosphate and lower gene expression of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1a, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), interleukin (IL)-1α and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α. F6H8 reduced early IRI at both the cellular and molecular level.Kidneys from BD pigs were evaluated for the feasibility of coating the vessel walls with the heparin conjugate CHC (Corline Systems AB, Uppsala, Sweden) to restore glycocalyx. Porcine kidneys were preserved by HMP for 20h with 50 mg biotinylated CHC added to the perfusion solution. CHC was detected on the inner surface of the kidney vessels by immunofluorescence, and its uptake in kidneys was confirmed by reduced content in the perfusate. An ex vivo normothermic perfusion circuit was developed to assess kidney function. Perfusion with CHC during HMP was associated with lower creatinine levels, increased urine volume and reduced tubular injury. Modifying renal vessels walls using CHC during HMP improved early graft function. Preservation with the oxygenated F6H8 solution or CHC could be used to improve graft quality and ameliorate IRI in kidneys retrieved from deceased donors.