The conventional technique of liver transplantation involves the initial perfusion of the graft with portal blood. However, recent evidence suggests that initial arterialization of the graft may be better. The aim of this study is to evaluate the timing of arterialization on reperfusion injury, hepatocellular injury, and endothelial cell function after liver transplantation. Large white X Landrace pigs (n = 24) were subjected to orthotopic liver transplantation. The animals were randomly assigned to 4 groups, ranging from late arterialization (60 minutes after portal reperfusion) to early rearterialization (20 minutes before portal reperfusion). Aspartate aminotransferase levels continued to increase 4 hours posttransplantation in group 1 (late arterialization), but remained stable after 1 hour posttransplantation in group 4 (early rearterialization). Levels of malondialdehyde doubled in all groups after portal reperfusion with the exception of group 4, in which the liver received arterial blood before portal reperfusion. Vitamin A levels decreased in all groups after revascularization, but the decrease was more pronounced and prolonged in groups 1 and 2 (late arterialization) compared with groups 3 and 4 (early rearterialization). Hyaluronic acid levels continued to increase in all groups until 1 hour posttransplantation except in group 4, in which the level decreased from 20 minutes posttransplantation. Results of this study show that early rearterialization is associated with less hepatocellular damage, less reperfusion injury, and improved liver endothelial cell function. In conclusion, our results indicate that early rearterialization of the graft is beneficial to the transplanted liver.
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