Celsior, a new preservation solution in thoracic organ transplantation was evaluated for efficacy in cold preservation of human hepatocytes and compared with University of Wisconsin solution (UW) and histidine-tryptophan-ketoglutarate solution (HTK, Custodiol). Human hepatocyte cultures were preserved at 4 degrees C in Celsior, UW and HTK for 2, 6, 12, 24 and 48 h with 6 h of reperfusion. Levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH; cell necrosis), 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT; mitochondrial function), and adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP; loss of intracellular energy) were measured. Cell necrosis, mitochondrial dysfunction, and loss of ATP were significantly ( P<0.001, P<0.001, P<0.002, respectively) lower in Celsior than in HTK. The amount of cell necrosis and mitochondrial dysfunction in Celsior solution (CS) and UW was equal ( P=n.s.) up to 24 h and significantly lower in UW after 48 h ( P<0.001). Additionally, the intracellular level of ATP was significantly higher after ischemia ( P<0.001) and reperfusion from long-term ischemia (24, 48 h) ( P<0.002). We can conclude that Celsior was superior to HTK and equal to UW in the protection of human hepatocytes against cold preservation injury from ischemia and reperfusion. Furthermore, Celsior was effective in long-term preservation of human hepatocytes.