The pathway leading to cell death in clinical liver transplantation is not known. Eight liver transplant recipients and eight donors were enrolled in this study. Postoperative serum levels of alanine transferase had significantly increased in the recipients compared with those in the donors. Mild centri-lobular necrosis was observed in only liver tissues taken from the recipients. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-R1 and death receptor 5 expression levels had increased in liver tissues taken from the recipients. There were no changes in the levels of Fas/Fas ligand expression in liver tissues from either the donors or recipients. Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) expression was down-regulated in donor liver after hepatectomy and liver allograft after implantation. The results suggest that, although ischemic liver injury was not serious, due to the short ischemia time, TNF and TRAIL signals are associated with liver ischemic injury in live-donor liver transplantation but Fas signal is not.