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Liver. 1994 Feb;14(1):50-6.

Preservation of human liver grafts in UW solution. Ultrastructural evidence for endothelial and Kupffer cell activation during cold ischemia and after ischemia-reperfusion.

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Laboratoire des Interactions Cellulaires, Université de Bordeaus II-Unité de Transplantation Hépatique, Bordeaux, France.


Biopsies taken from 13 human liver grafts at different stages of the transplantation process were used for study of the morphology of sinusoidal cells prior to harvesting (5 biopsies), after preservation in UW solution (10 biopsies), and after complete revascularization (13 biopsies). The mean cold ischemic period was 12 h 30. Immediate follow up was uneventful and the mean peak of post-operative transaminases below 1300 IU/l. Biopsies were perfusion-fixed by the transparenchymal route to ensure satisfactory ultrastructural results. There were no loose sinusoidal endothelial cells in the lumen and no signs of cellular death. Some endothelial cells presented signs of activation at the end of the preservation period, and even more after revascularization, with numerous lucent vacuoles resembling endosomes in the cytoplasm. Kupffer cells also presented signs of activation, particularly after reperfusion. The retraction of endothelial cell processes which formed large gaps during cold ischemia proved to be partly reversible after reperfusion. Signs of endothelial cell damage with gaps and partial rupture of the plasmic membrane were also observed, particularly after revascularization, in areas which contained numerous inflammatory cells adhering to the wall. The Disse space was not generally enlarged and contained no inflammatory cells. The sinusoidal pole of hepatocytes was occasionally damaged with the formation of blebs. These results strongly suggest that any drug or preservation solution that will inhibit endothelial and Kupffer cell activation could be beneficial in the prevention of preservation and reperfusion injury.

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