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Cell Transplant. 1998 Jul-Aug;7(4):357-63.

Transplantation of hepatocytes for prevention of intracranial hypertension in pigs with ischemic liver failure.

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Department of Surgery, Allen and Burns Research Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.


Intracranial hypertension leading to brain stem herniation is a major cause of death in fulminant hepatic failure (FHF). Mannitol, barbiturates, and hyperventilation have been used to treat brain swelling, but most patients are either refractory to medical management or cannot be treated because of concurrent medical problems or side effects. In this study, we examined whether allogeneic hepatocellular transplantation may prevent development of intracranial hypertension in pigs with experimentally induced liver failure. Of the two preparations tested--total hepatectomy (n = 47), and liver devascularization (n = 16)--only pigs with liver ischemia developed brain edema provided, however, that animals were maintained normothermic throughout the postoperative period. This model was then used in transplantation studies, in which six pigs received intrasplenic injection of allogeneic hepatocytes (2.5 x 10(9) cells/pig) and 3 days later acute liver failure was induced. In both models (anhepatic state, liver devascularization), pigs allowed to become hypothermic had significantly longer survival compared to those maintained normothermic. Normothermic pigs with liver ischemia had, at all time points studied, ICP greater than 20 mmHg. Pigs that received hepatocellular transplants had ICP below 15 mmHg until death; at the same time, cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) in transplanted pigs was consistently higher than in controls (45 +/- 11 mmHg vs. 16 +/- 18 mmHg; p < 0.05). Spleens of transplanted pigs contained clusters of viable hepatocytes (hematoxylin-eosin, CAM 5.2). It was concluded that removal of the liver does not result in intracranial hypertension; hypothermia prolongs survival time in both anhepatic pigs and pigs with liver devascularization, and intrasplenic transplantation of allogeneic hepatocytes prevents development of intracranial hypertension in pigs with acute ischemic liver failure.

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