The Immunological Effect of Oxygen Carriers on Normothermic Ex Vivo Liver Perfusion

Frontiers in Immunology, Vol. 13 (2022)

Keywords
Authors
  • Heather Jennings
  • Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States
  • Kristin N. Carlson
  • Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States
  • Chris Little
  • Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States
  • Joshua C. Verhagen
  • Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States
  • Jeevan Nagendran
  • Department of Surgery, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
  • Yongjun Liu
  • Department of Pathology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States
  • Bret Verhoven
  • Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States
  • Weifeng Zeng
  • Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States
  • Stacey McMorrow
  • Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States
  • Peter Chlebeck
  • Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States
  • David P. Al-Adra
  • Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, United States

Abstract

IntroductionNormothermic ex vivo liver perfusion (NEVLP) is an organ preservation method that allows liver graft functional assessment prior to transplantation. One key component of normothermic perfusion solution is an oxygen carrier to provide oxygen to the liver to sustain metabolic activities. Oxygen carriers such as red blood cells (RBCs) or hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers have an unknown effect on the liver-resident immune cells during NEVLP. In this study, we assessed the effects of different oxygen carriers on the phenotype and function of liver-resident immune cells.MethodsAdult Lewis rat livers underwent NEVLP using three different oxygen carriers: human packed RBCs (pRBCs), rat pRBCs, or Oxyglobin (a synthetic hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier). Hourly perfusate samples were collected for downstream analysis, and livers were digested to isolate immune cells. The concentration of common cytokines was measured in the perfusate, and the immune cells underwent phenotypic characterization with flow cytometry and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). The stimulatory function of the liver-resident immune cells was assessed using mixed lymphocyte reactions.ResultsThere were no differences in liver function, liver damage, or histology between the three oxygen carriers. qRT-PCR revealed that the gene expression of nuclear factor κ light chain enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kB), Interleukin (IL-1β), C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), C-C motif chemokine ligand 7 (CCL7), and CD14 was significantly upregulated in the human pRBC group compared with that in the naive, whereas the rat pRBC and Oxyglobin groups were not different from that of naive. Flow cytometry demonstrated that the cell surface expression of the immune co-stimulatory protein, CD86, was significantly higher on liver-resident macrophages and plasmacytoid dendritic cells perfused with human pRBC compared to Oxyglobin. Mixed lymphocyte reactions revealed increased allogeneic T-cell proliferation in the human and rat pRBC groups compared to that in the Oxyglobin group.ConclusionsLiver-resident immune cells are important mediators of rejection after transplantation. In this study, we show that the oxygen carrier used in NEVLP solutions can affect the phenotype of these liver-resident immune cells. The synthetic hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier, Oxyglobin, showed the least amount of liver-resident immune cell activation and the least amount of allogeneic proliferation when compared to human or rat pRBCs. To mitigate liver-resident immune cell activation during NEVLP (and subsequent transplantation), Oxyglobin may be an optimal oxygen carrier.

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