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Keywords:

  • Early outcome analysis;
  • gene expression profiling;
  • injury mechanisms and biomarkers;
  • ischemia/reperfusion injury;
  • orthotopic liver transplant;
  • stress response

Liver ischemia-reperfusion injury occurring in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) may be responsible for early graft failure. Molecular mechanisms underlying initial poor graft function (IPGF) have been poorly documented in human. The purpose of this study was to identify the major transcriptional alterations occurring in human livers during OLT. Twenty-one RNA extracts derived from liver transplant biopsies taken after graft reperfusion were compared with 7 RNA derived from normal control livers. Three hundred seventy-one genes were significantly modulated and classified in molecular pathways relevant to liver metabolism, inflammatory response, cell proliferation and liver protection. Grafts were then subdivided into two groups based on their peak levels of serum aspartate amino transferase within 72 h after OLT (group 1, non-IPGF: 14 patients; group 2, IPGF: 7 patients). The two corresponding data sets were compared using a supervised prediction method. A new set of genes able to correctly classify 71% of the patients was defined. These genes were functionally associated with oxidative stress, inflammation and inhibition of cell proliferation. This study provides a comprehensive picture of the transcriptional events associated with human OLT and IPGF. We anticipate that such alterations provide a framework for the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms leading to IPGF.