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Keywords:

  • Apoptosis;
  • clinical trial;
  • cold ischemia/warm reperfusion injury;
  • neutrophil infiltration

Cold ischemia/warm reperfusion (CI/WR) injury remains a problem in liver transplantation. The aim of the current study was to assess the utility of the pan-caspase inhibitor IDN-6556 on CI/WR injury during human liver transplantation. This report is a post hoc analysis of a Phase II, multi-center, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, parallel group study. Subjects were assigned to four treatment groups: Group 1 (Organ storage/flush: Placebo—Recipient: Placebo); Group 2 (Organ storage/flush: 15 μg/mL—Recipient: Placebo); Group 3 (Organ storage/flush: 5 μg/mL—Recipient: 0.5 mg/kg); and Group 4 (Organ storage/flush: 15 μg/mL—Recipient: 0.5 mg/kg). Liver cell apoptosis was assessed by serum concentrations of the apoptosis-associated CK18Asp396 (‘M30’) neo-epitope, TUNEL assay and caspase 3/7 immunohistochemistry. Liver injury was assessed by serum AST/ALT determinations. Serum markers of liver cell apoptosis were reduced in all groups receiving drug as compared to placebo. However, TUNEL, caspase 3/7 positive cells and serum AST/ALT levels were only consistently reduced in Group 2 (drug exposed to organ only). This reduction in serum transaminases was significant and observed across the study. In conclusion, IDN-6556 when administered in cold storage and flush solutions during liver transplantation offers local therapeutic protection against CI/WR-mediated apoptosis and injury. However, larger studies are required to confirm these observations.