Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion Improves the Inflammatory Signaling Profile of the Porcine Donor Lung Following Transplantation

Transplantation. 2020 Sep;104(9):1899-1905. doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000003338.


Background: Primary graft dysfunction and allograft rejection represent major caveats to successful lung transplantation. Reducing inflammation in donor lungs before transplantation may improve outcomes. Evidence exists that ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) can alter the donor lung environment, although the mechanisms remain unclear. This study aimed to characterize the inflammatory signaling profile of the lung following standard and EVLP transplant and delineate the immediate impact on the recipient circulation.

Methods: Female recipient pigs (n = 12) were randomized to undergo left lung transplantation from male donors either using the gold standard protocol (static cold storage) or following 3 hours of EVLP. The relative phosphorylation of 44 phosphokinases and the relative expression of 35 apoptosis-related molecules were profiled within the donor lung 24 hours posttransplantation.

Results: A global profile of mitochondrial salvage and cell survival was observed in the EVLP lung tissue compared with lungs undergoing standard transplantation. This included increased phosphorylation of downstream prosignaling kinases, including ERK1/2 and FAK. In addition, there was upregulated expression of the antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2, HSP-70, LIVIN, and PON2 with downregulation of apoptosis inducing mitochondrial associated molecules, including clusterin, cytochrome C, and HTRA2/OMI. In the early postoperative period, there were significantly lower levels of circulating mitochondrial DNA in recipients receiving EVLP lungs compared with a standard transplant (P = 0.016). Genomic DNA did not differ between groups, with donor DNA undetectable at all time points.

Conclusions: EVLP alters the inflammatory signaling profile of the donor lung before transplantation, with a global cell survival and antiapoptotic signature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / blood
  • Female
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Lung / metabolism*
  • Lung Transplantation / methods*
  • Male
  • Organ Preservation / methods*
  • Perfusion / methods*
  • Proteome
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Swine
  • Tissue Donors*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Proteome