Preservation strategies to reduce ischemic injury in kidney transplantation: pharmacological and genetic approaches

Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2011 Apr;16(2):180-7. doi: 10.1097/MOT.0b013e3283446b1d.


Purpose of review: In the current graft shortage, it is paramount to improve the quality of transplanted organs. Organ preservation represents an underused therapeutic window with great potential to reduce ischaemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and improve graft quality. Herein, we review strategies using this window as well as other promising work targeting IRI pathways using pharmacological treatments and gene therapy.

Recent findings: We highlight studies using molecules administered during kidney preservation to target key components of IRI such as inflammation, oxidative stress, mitochondrial activity and the coagulation pathway. We further expose recent studies of gene therapy directed against inflammation or apoptosis during cold storage. Other pathways with potential therapeutic molecules are cited.

Summary: The use of cold preservation as a therapeutic window to deliver pharmacological or gene therapy treatments can significantly improve both short-term and long-term graft outcomes. Even if human gene therapy remains hampered by the quantity of agent needed and the potential harmfulness of the vector, it clearly offers a wide array of possibilities for the future. Although gene therapy is still too immature, we expose pharmacological strategies which can readily be applied to the clinic and improve both transplantation success rates and the patients' quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cold Temperature*
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Nephrectomy*
  • Organ Preservation / adverse effects
  • Organ Preservation / methods*
  • Organ Preservation Solutions / therapeutic use*
  • Reperfusion Injury / etiology
  • Reperfusion Injury / genetics
  • Reperfusion Injury / metabolism
  • Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Tissue Donors / supply & distribution*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Organ Preservation Solutions