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J Nippon Med Sch. 2013;80(1):4-15.

Surgical technique of orthotopic liver transplantation in rats: the Kamada technique and a new splint technique for hepatic artery reconstruction.

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Department of Pathology (Analytic Human Pathology), Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan.


Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in rats is technically feasible and useful for the assessment of clinical liver transplantation and analysis of inflammatory liver diseases. OLT in rats was pioneered by Lee et al. in 1973 using hand-suture techniques of all vessels. This model has not been widely used due to the long operative time and technical demand. The cuff method was introduced by Kamada in 1979, and today, the Kamada technique is the one most commonly used worldwide. However, this technique does not include hepatic artery reconstruction, although this procedure is routinely performed in clinical transplantation. Nevertheless, several techniques for hepatic artery reconstruction in rat OLT have been reported recently, and our group also developed a simple splint technique from recipient right renal artery to donor celiac axis bearing the hepatic artery. In the present article, we describe the Kamada technique, as a standard surgical method for rat OLT. In addition, we also describe our splint technique for hepatic artery reconstruction. Then, we compare the features of Kamada technique and our splint technique for hepatic artery reconstruction and all other surgical techniques currently in use for rat OLT. The widespread use of the rat OLT model should help to provide full assessment of transplant immunology and the mechanism and treatment of inflammatory liver diseases.

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