Background: Renal ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury is unavoidable in kidney transplantation and frequently influences both short- and long-term allograft survival rates. One of the major events in I/R injury is the generation of cytotoxic oxygen radicals. Recently, hydrogen gas has been reported to display antioxidant properties and protective effects against organ dysfunction induced by various I/R injuries. We investigated whether hydrogen-rich University of Wisconsin (HRUW) solution attenuates renal cold I/R injury.
Methods: We prepared HRUW solution by a novel method involving immersion of centrifuge tubes containing UW solution into hydrogen-saturated water. Hydrogen readily permeates through the centrifuge tubes, and thus, the hydrogen concentration of the UW solution gradually increases in a time-dependent manner. Syngeneic rat kidney transplantation was performed, and the animals were divided into three groups: recipients with nonpreserved grafts (control group), recipients with grafts preserved in UW solution for 24 to 48 hr (UW group), and recipients with grafts preserved in HRUW solution for 24 to 48 hr (HRUW group).
Results: In the early phases, HRUW solution decreased oxidative stress, tubular apoptosis, and interstitial macrophage infiltration in the kidney grafts. Consequently, HRUW solution improved renal function and prolonged recipient survival rate compared with simple cold storage using UW solution. Histopathologically, HRUW treatment alleviated tubular injury and suppressed development of interstitial fibrosis.
Conclusions: HRUW solution improved graft function and prolonged graft survival compared with simple cold storage using UW solution by protecting tubular epithelial cells from inflammation and apoptosis. Our new method of organ preservation is a groundbreaking, safe, and simple strategy that may be applied in the clinical setting.