Background: In liver transplantation, the donor and recipient are in different locations most of the time, and longer preservation periods are inevitable. Hence, the choice of the preservation solution and the duration of the preservation period are critical for the success of the transplant surgery.
Objective: In this study, we examine the mechanical and histological properties of the bovine liver tissue stored in Lactated Ringer's (control), HTK and UW solutions as a function of preservation period.
Methods: The mechanical experiments are conducted with a shear rheometer on cylindrical tissue samples extracted from 3 bovine livers and the change in viscoelastic material properties of the bovine liver is characterized using the fractional derivative Kelvin-Voigt Model. Also, the histological examinations are performed on the same liver samples under a light microscope.
Results: The results show that the preservation solution and period have a significant effect on the mechanical and histological properties of the liver tissue. The storage and loss shear moduli, the number of the apoptotic cells, the collagen accumulation, and the sinusoidal dilatation increase, and the glycogen deposition decreases as the preservation period is longer.
Conclusions: Based on the statistical analyses, we observe that the liver tissue is preserved well in all three solutions for up to 11 h. After then, UW solution provides a better preservation up to 29 h. However, for preservation periods longer than 29 h, HTK is a more effective preservation solution based on the least amount of change in mechanical properties. On the other hand, the highest correlation between the mechanical and histological properties is observed for the liver samples preserved in UW solution.
Keywords: Liver; histology; mechanical characterization; preservation; rheology; transplantation.