We previously reported the efficacy of cold storage (CS) using a heavy water-containing solution (Dsol) and post-reperfusion hydrogen gas treatment separately. This study aimed to clarify the combined effects of these treatments. Rat livers were subjected to 48-hour CS and a subsequent 90-minute reperfusion in an isolated perfused rat liver system. The experimental groups were the immediately reperfused control group (CT), the CS with University of Wisconsin solution (UW) group, the CS with Dsol group, the CS with UW and post-reperfusion H2 treatment group (UW-H2), and the CS with Dsol and post-reperfusion H2 group (Dsol-H2). We first compared the Dsol-H2, UW, and CT groups to evaluate this alternative method to conventional CS. The protective potential of the Dsol-H2 group was superior to that of the UW group, as evidenced by lower portal venous resistance and lactate dehydrogenase leakage, a higher oxygen consumption rate, and increased bile production. Multiple comparison tests among the UW, Dsol, UW-H2, and Dsol-H2 groups revealed that both treatments, during CS and after reperfusion, conferred a similar extent of protection and showed additive effects in combination therapy. Furthermore, the variance in all treatment groups appeared smaller than that in the no-treatment or no-stress groups, with excellent reproducibility. In conclusion, combination therapy with Dsol during CS and hydrogen gas after reperfusion additively protects against graft injury.
Background: We have previously reported the efficacy of post-reperfusion H2 gas treatment in cold storage (CS) and subsequent reperfusion of the rat liver. The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of H2 gas treatment during hypothermic machine perfusion (HMP) in rat livers retrieved from donation after circulatory death (DCD) and elucidate the mechanism of action of H2 gas. Methods: Liver grafts were procured from rats after 30 min of cardiopulmonary arrest. The graft was subjected to HMP for 3 hours at 7°C using Belzer MPS with or without dissolved H2 gas. The graft was reperfused using an isolated perfused rat liver apparatus at 37°C for 90 minutes. Perfusion kinetics, liver damage, function, apoptosis, and ultrastructure were evaluated. Results: Portal venous resistance, bile production, and oxygen consumption rates were identical in the CS, MP, and MP-H2 groups. Liver enzyme leakage was suppressed by MP (vs control), whereas H2 treatment did not show a combination effect. Histopathology revealed poorly stained areas with a structural deformity just below the liver surface in the CS and MP groups, whereas these findings disappeared in the MP-H2 group. The apoptotic index in the CS and MP groups was high but decreased in the MP-H2 group. Mitochondrial cristae were damaged in the CS group but preserved in the MP and MP-H2 groups. Conclusions: In conclusion, HMP and H2 gas treatment are partly effective in DCD rat livers but insufficient. Hypothermic machine perfusion can improve focal microcirculation and preserve mitochondrial ultrastructure.