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Transpl Int. 2011 Sep;24(9):912-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2011.01284.x. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

Effect of intraportal infusion of tacrolimus on ischaemic reperfusion injury in orthotopic liver transplantation: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Transplantation, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, Vienna, Austria.


The increased use of older and/or marginal donor organs in liver transplantation over the last decade calls for strategies to minimize ischaemic reperfusion (I/R) injury to prevent early graft failure. Tacrolimus, a very potent and effective calcineurin inhibitor, was selected because of its ability to ameliorate I/R injury. A randomized, blinded, controlled single-centre trial of 26 liver transplant recipients was performed between February 2008 and December 2009. Donor organs were randomized to be perfused intraportally during liver transplantation with 1.5 l 5% albumin infusion containing either 20 ng/ml tacrolimus or placebo. The primary end point was liver function as assessed by aspartate transaminase (AST) or alanine transaminase (ALT) levels 6 days after transplantation. Treatment effectiveness was tested by transcriptome-wide analysis of biopsies. There was no difference in the primary end point, i.e. AST (IU/l) and ALT (IU/l) at day 6 after transplantation between groups. Furthermore, choleastatic parameters as well as parameters of liver synthesis were not different between groups. However, tacrolimus treatment suppressed inflammation and immune response in the transplanted liver on a genome-wide basis. Intrahepatic administration of tacrolimus did not result in a reduction of AST and ALT within the first week after transplantation.


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