Instant Blood-Mediated Inflammatory Reaction in Hepatocyte Transplantation: Current Status and Future Perspectives

Cell Transplant. 2016;25(7):1227-36. doi: 10.3727/096368916X691286. Epub 2016 Mar 18.


Hepatocyte transplantation (HT) is emerging as a promising alternative to orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in patients with certain liver-based metabolic disease and acute liver failure. Hepatocytes are generally infused into the portal venous system, from which they migrate into the liver cell plates of the native organ. One of the major hurdles to the sustained success of this therapy is early cell loss, with up to 70% of hepatocytes lost immediately following infusion. This is largely thought to be due to the instant blood-mediated inflammatory reaction (IBMIR), resulting in the activation of complement and coagulation pathways. Transplanted hepatocytes produce and release tissue factor (TF), which activates the coagulation pathway, leading to the formation of thrombin and fibrin clots. Thrombin can further activate a number of complement proteins, leading to the activation of the membrane attack complex (MAC) and subsequent hepatocyte cell death. Inflammatory cells including granulocytes, monocytes, Kupffer cells, and natural killer (NK) cells have been shown to cluster around transplanted hepatocytes, leading to their rapid clearance shortly after transplantation. Current research aims to improve cell engraftment and prevent early cell loss. This has been proven successful in vitro using pharmacological interventions such as melagatran, low-molecular-weight dextran sulphate, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Effective inhibition of IBMIR would significantly improve hepatocyte engraftment, proliferation, and function, providing successful treatment for patients with liver-based metabolic diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hepatocytes / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Inflammation / therapy
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological


  • Inflammation Mediators