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Ann Surg. 2008 Dec;248(6):1042-50. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e318190e70c.

Methylprednisolone therapy in deceased donors reduces inflammation in the donor liver and improves outcome after liver transplantation: a prospective randomized controlled trial.

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Institute of Medical Immunology, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Erratum in

  • Ann Surg. 2011 Aug;254(2):391.



To investigate potential beneficial effects of donor treatment with methylprednisolone on organ function and outcome after liver transplantation.


It is proven experimentally and clinically that the brain death of the donor leads to increased levels of inflammatory cytokines and is followed by an intensified ischemia/reperfusion injury after organ transplantation. In experiments, donor treatment with steroids successfully diminished these effects and led to better organ function after transplantation.


To investigate whether methylprednisolone treatment of the deceased donor is applicable to attenuate brain death-associated damage in clinical liver transplantation we conducted a prospective randomized treatment-versus-control study in 100 deceased donors. Donor treatment (n = 50) consisted of 250 mg methylprednisolone at the time of consent for organ donation and a subsequent infusion of 100 mg/h until recovery of organs. A liver biopsy was taken immediately after laparotomy and blood samples were obtained after brain death diagnosis and before organ recovery. Cytokines were assessed by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Soluble serum cytokines were measured by cytometric bead array system.


After methylprednisolone treatment, steroid plasma levels were significantly higher (P < 0.05), and a significant decrease in soluble interleukins, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, interleukin-2, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and inducible protein-10 was observed. Methylprednisolone treatment resulted in a significant downregulation of intercellular adhesion molecule-1, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, major histocompatibility complex class II, Fas-ligand, inducible protein-10, and CD68 intragraft mRNA expression. Significantly ameliorated ischemia/reperfusion injury in the posttransplant course was accompanied by a decreased incidence of acute rejection.


Our present study verifies the protective effect of methylprednisolone treatment in deceased donor liver transplantation, suggesting it as a potential therapeutical approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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