New strategies of partial liver transplantation such as cadaveric split or living related liver transplantation have been developed to overcome organ shortage. Thus, studies on the ability of small partial grafts to regenerate to normal size while maintaining adequate function have become important. Here, we evaluated the effects of cold preservation on hepatocyte proliferation and function in a novel model of partial liver transplantation in rats. Lewis rats subjected to 70% liver resection (control) were compared with rats that underwent total hepatectomy and 30% partial liver transplantation (recipient). Livers were preserved at 4°C for 30 minutes, 10 hours, or 16 hours in University of Wisconsin solution. Seventy percent liver resection was associated with 100% survival, whereas 30-minute, 10-hour, and 16-hour preservation before 30% transplantation resulted in 80%, 40%, and 20% animal survival, respectively. Prolonged time of cold preservation (10 and 16 hours) was associated with a dramatic decrease of all markers of regeneration (P < .05). Tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels were also significantly decreased in recipient rats compared with the control group. Finally, pretreatment of recipients with recombinant IL-6 (rlL-6) normalized all markers of regeneration and significantly improved survival in the 10-hour group (90% vs. 40%; P < .05). In conclusion, sustained periods of cold preservation significantly impaired TNF-α and IL-6 production, the regenerative ability of the liver, and animal survival. rIL-6 reversed impaired regeneration in the 10-hour cold ischemia group and suggests a primary role of nonparenchymal cells in modulating hepatocyte proliferation in the ischemic liver.
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