Abstract: Background: It has been supposed that liver transplant recipients with hepatitis C virus infection have a higher incidence of infectious complications after transplantation. This study was designed to investigate whether neutrophil function is immediately affected by liver transplantation.
Methods: Biochemical values, plasma levels of myeloperoxidase (MPO), hydrogen peroxide production of neutrophils and neutrophil–platelet complexes were analyzed in 32 patients who underwent liver transplantation and 20 healthy volunteers.
Results: MPO levels were significantly increased 24 h after reperfusion. In post-hepatitic patients levels were significantly lower three d up to one wk post-transplant than in patients due to other liver diseases. One wk post-operatively the respiratory burst activity following N-formyl-methionyl-leucylphenylalanine (fMLP) or (tumor necrosis factor-α) TNF-α/fMLP stimulation was depressed in post-hepatitic recipients. Respiratory burst stimulated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate in these patients was increased one wk after transplantation. One d after transplantation the neutrophil–platelet complexes decreased significantly throughout the post-operative period.
Conclusions: The results of this study suggest a reduced post-operative neutrophil activation in liver transplant recipients suffering from post-hepatitic cirrhosis compared to cirrhosis due to other causes. We hypothesized that neutrophil dysfunction in those patients depends on the underlying disease with an increased susceptibility to bacterial or fungal infections.