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Transplantation. 1990 Jul;50(1):14-20.

Increase in survival time of liver transplants by protease inhibitors and a calcium channel blocker, nisoldipine.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599.


Kupffer cells are activated by calcium and release a variety of toxic mediators, including proteases. The purpose of these studies, therefore, was to determine if protease inhibitors and a calcium channel blocker could increase survival time in the rat model of orthotopic liver transplantation. Survival for 30 days was greater than 90% in this model when livers were stored for 1 hr in Ringer's solution (survival conditions)--however, grafts stored for 4 hr in Euro-Collins solution or 8 hr in University of Wisconsin (UW) solution survived postoperatively only 1.2 and 0.7 days, respectively (nonsurvival conditions). When livers were stored for 4 hr in Euro-Collins containing a cocktail of protease inhibitors (leupeptin, pepstatin A, phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride, 20 ng/ml each; diisopropyl fluorophosphate, 100 microM) and subsequently transplanted, however, survival time was increased significantly to 11.5 days. Inclusion of a calcium channel blocker, nisoldipine (1.4 microM), in the protease inhibitor cocktail increased survival time to 23 days. Actually, nisoldipine alone increased survival time to 25 days. Nisoldipine alone also increased survival time in livers stored for 8 or 16 hr in UW solution to between 15 and 20 days. Serum transaminase levels reached peak values greater than 2400 U/L one day postoperatively in the nonsurvival groups, and liver injury assessed histologically was apparent. Under these conditions, pulmonary infiltration of inflammatory cells was observed in about 60% of the lungs examined and was associated with massive bleeding. Inclusion of the protease cocktail, nisoldipine, or both in the storage solutions decreased maximal SGOT levels and injury to both liver and lung significantly by about 50% postoperatively. Nisoldipine also decreased phagocytosis of carbon particles by the perfused liver 2- to 3-fold following storage under nonsurvival conditions (half-maximal effect = 0.3-0.4 microM nisoldipine). Moreover, nisoldipine improved hepatic microcirculation. It accelerated blood flow into the liver, as indexed by hemoglobin reflectance from the liver surface. These data support the hypothesis that Kupffer cells are activated early in the sequence of events that causes graft failure leading to endothelial cell-mediated alterations in the microcirculation. This work demonstrates clearly that dihydropyridine-type calcium channel blockers such as nisoldipine may be clinically useful in storage solutions for liver prior to transplantation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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