In vitro evaluation of donor liver preservation fluids on human hepatocyte function

Transpl Int. 1995;8(6):426-33. doi: 10.1007/BF00335593.


Successful liver transplantation depends on adequate preservation of cellular function. We therefore tested the effects of two currently used liver preservation fluids, Euro-Collins (EC) solution and University of Wisconsin (UW) solution, on the viability and some functional activities of hepatocytes isolated from human livers. Cells in primary culture were maintained under hypoxic (95% N2/5% CO2) and hypothermic (4 degrees C) conditions for 24 h, either in EC or UW solution. This treatment did not result in significant hepatocyte damage, as judged by phase contrast microscopy, intracellular LDH release, and the MTT mitochondrial test. However, neutral red uptake indicated that lysosomal functions were slightly affected (35% decrease) when compared to control conditions. At the end of the hypoxia/hypothermia period, hepatocyte monolayers were incubated at 37 degrees C under normoxic conditions for 24 h, in order to simulate the reperfusion of a transplanted liver. Three drugs--midazolam, diazepam, zidovudine--were used as diagnostic substrates to check the metabolic abilities of human hepatocytes replaced in normal conditions. Both phase I (hydroxylation, demethylation) and phase II (glucuronidation) metabolic reactions were affected by the hypoxia/hypothermia shock. Indeed, a 30%-50% decrease in these activities was observed as compared to values obtained in control hepatocytes. No difference could, however, be found at the cellular level regarding the solution used for cold storage. These results suggest that the superiority of UW over EC solution, already reported in clinical practice after transplantation of preserved human livers, was not due to a better preservation of the hepatocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimetabolites / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biotransformation
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cold Temperature
  • Diazepam / pharmacokinetics*
  • GABA Modulators / pharmacokinetics*
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Midazolam / pharmacokinetics*
  • Organ Preservation / methods*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Zidovudine / pharmacokinetics*


  • Antimetabolites
  • GABA Modulators
  • Zidovudine
  • Diazepam
  • Midazolam