A Rat Model of Orthotopic Kidney Transplantation Based on Nonanastomotic Technique

Transplant Proc. 2021 Dec;53(10):3080-3086. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2021.08.047. Epub 2021 Nov 5.


Background: Renal transplantation is an effective treatment for end-stage renal disease, which involves pathophysiologic processes such as ischemia-reperfusion injury and immune rejection. The degree of ischemia-reperfusion injury is closely related to the functional state of the transplanted kidney. At present, the allogeneic kidney transplantation model has been widely used in related research. The traditional kidney transplantation model has the disadvantages of complicated vascular anastomosis, difficulty in ureteral reconstruction. The aim of this study was to establish a rat autologous orthotopic kidney transplantation model based on non-anastomotic technique.

Methods: Inbred Wistar rats weighing 260 to 280 g were selected. The rats were anesthetized by intraperitoneal injections of 40 mg/kg body weight pentobarbital sodium. We exposed and freed the left kidney after laparotomy and separated the left renal artery and left renal vein, abdominal aorta, and posterior vena cava. A purse-string suture with a diameter of 1 to 2 mm was made through the tunica media of the abdominal aorta. A puncture was made through the center of the purse-string suture. The in-dwelling needle was placed in the renal artery along the blood flow direction, and was infused with constant flow of 4°C heparinized lactated ringer's solution until the kidney became pale yellow. The renal vein was ligated and the renal artery was clamped. The in-dwelling needle was removed, purse-string suture was ligated, and the kidney was stored in a self-made autologous kidney transplant cold storage bag for 4 hours. We then opened the vein and artery, removed the cold storage bag, and rewarmed with 37°C normal saline. The abdomen was then closed layer by layer.

Results: Fifty-two orthotopic renal transplantations were performed, which included pre-experimental (40 operations) and experimental stages (12 operations). The success rates of the 2 stages were 75% and 91.7%, respectively. The main causes of failure were intraoperative hemorrhagic shock and postoperative infection. The operation time of orthotopic renal transplantation was 360 ± 30 minutes, including 30 ± 10 minutes for dissociation and management of kidney and blood vessels, 1 ± 0.5 minutes for warm ischemia and 240 ± 10 minutes for cold storage. Rats were sacrificed at 1 day and 7 day respectively. The rats were in good condition after operation. They could eat and drink freely. At 24 hours and 1 week after transplantation, the kidney's blood supply was good, the intestine was light or showed no adhesions, and the abdominal cavity had no ascites or peculiar smell. Hematoxylin & eosin (H&E) staining showed that there were no obvious pathologic changes in the sham group. The orthotopic kidney transplantation 1-day group showed pathologic changes of ischemia-reperfusion, such as swelling, necrosis, shedding, and cast formation of renal tubular cells. The orthotopic kidney transplantation 7-day group recovered well, with mild dilation of the renal capsule and mild dilatation of the renal tubules.

Conclusion: The new model of autologous kidney transplantation is simple to use, does not require vascular anastomosis and ureteral reconstruction, and has a high success rate.

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical
  • Animals
  • Kidney / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Renal Veins / surgery