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Journal: American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons


Prolonged hypothermic storage causes ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) in the renal graft, which is considered to contribute to the occurrence of the delayed graft function (DGF) and chronic graft failure. Strategies are required to protect the graft and to prolong renal graft survival. We demonstrated that xenon exposure to human proximal tubular cells (HK-2) led to activation of range of protective proteins. Xenon treatment prior to or after hypothermia-hypoxia challenge stabilized the HK-2 cellular structure, diminished cytoplasmic translocation of high-mobility group box (HMGB) 1 and suppressed NF-κB activation. In the syngeneic Lewis-to-Lewis rat model of kidney transplantation, xenon exposure to donors before graft retrieval or to recipients after engraftment decreased caspase-3 expression, localized HMGB-1 within nuclei and prevented TLR-4/NF-κB activation in tubular cells; serum pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α were reduced and renal function was preserved. Xenon treatment of graft donors or of recipients prolonged renal graft survival following IRI in both Lewis-to-Lewis isografts and Fischer-to-Lewis allografts. Xenon induced cell survival or graft functional recovery was abolished by HIF-1α siRNA. Our data suggest that xenon treatment attenuates DGF and enhances graft survival. This approach could be translated into clinical practice leading to a considerable improvement in long-term graft survival.

Concepts: Protein, Kidney, Nephrology, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cytoplasm, Organ transplant, Protection


In heart transplant (HTx) recipients, there has been reluctance to recommend high-intensity interval training (HIIT) due to denervation and chronotropic impairment of the heart. We compared the effects of 12 weeks' HIIT versus continued moderate exercise (CON) on exercise capacity and chronotropic response in stable HTx recipients >12 months after transplantation in a randomized crossover trial. The study was completed by 16 HTx recipients (mean age 52 years, 75% males). Baseline peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak ) was 22.9 mL/kg/min. HIIT increased VO2peak by 4.9 ± 2.7 mL/min/kg (17%) and CON by 2.6 ± 2.2 mL/kg/min (10%) (significantly higher in HIIT; p < 0.001). During HIIT, systolic blood pressure decreased significantly (p = 0.037) with no significant change in CON (p = 0.241; between group difference p = 0.027). Peak heart rate (HRpeak ) increased significantly by 4.3 beats per minute (p = 0.014) after HIIT with no significant change in CON (p = 0.34; between group difference p = 0.027). Heart rate recovery (HRrecovery ) improved in both groups with a trend toward greater improvement after HIIT. The 5-month washout showed a significant loss of improvement. HIIT was well tolerated, had a superior effect on oxygen uptake, and led to an unexpected increase in HRpeak accompanied by a faster HRrecovery . This indicates that the benefits of HIIT are partly a result of improved chronotropic response.

Concepts: Blood, Blood pressure, Artery, Pulse, Organ transplant, Heart rate, High-intensity interval training, Interval training


In a cross-sectional study, we assessed effects of calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) or rapamycin on T-regulatory (Treg) cells from children with stable liver (n = 53) or kidney (n = 9) allografts several years posttransplant. We analyzed Treg number, phenotype, suppressive function, and methylation at the Treg-specific demethylation region (TSDR) using Tregs and peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Forty-eight patients received CNI (39 as monotherapy) and 12 patients received rapamycin (9 as monotherapy). Treg numbers diminished over time on either regimen, but reached significance only with CNI (r =-0.424, p = 0.017). CNI levels inversely correlated with Treg number (r =-0.371, p = 0.026), and positively correlated with CD127+ expression by Tregs (r = 0.437, p = 0.023). Patients with CNI levels >3.6 ng/mL had weaker Treg function than those with levels <3.6 ng/mL, whereas rapamycin therapy positively correlated with Treg numbers (r = 0.628, p = 0.029) and their expression of CTLA4 (r = 0.726, p = 0.041). Overall, CTLA4 expression, TSDR demethylation and an absence of CD127 were important for Treg suppressive function. We conclude that rapamycin has beneficial effects on Treg biology, whereas long-term and high dose CNI use may impair Treg number, function and phenotype, potentially acting as a barrier to attaining host hyporesponsiveness to an allograft.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Glucose, Organ transplant, Autoimmunity, PBMC, Regulatory T cell


Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), a condition of irreversible small airway fibrosis, is the principal factor limiting long-term survival after lung transplantation. Bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), techniques central to lung transplant clinical practice, provide a unique opportunity to interrogate the lung allograft during BOS development and identify potential disease mechanisms or biomarkers. Over the past 20 years, numerous studies have evaluated the BAL cellular composition, cytokine profiles and protein constituents in lung transplant recipients with BOS. To date, however, no summative evaluation of this literature has been reported. We developed and applied objective criteria to qualitatively rank the strength of associations between BAL parameters and BOS in order to provide a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the literature. Our analysis indicates that several BAL parameters, including neutrophil count, interleukin-8, alpha defensins and MMP-9, demonstrate highly replicable associations with BOS. Additionally, we suggest that considerable opportunity exists to increase the knowledge gained from BAL analyses in BOS through increased sample sizes, covariant adjustment and standardization of the BAL technique. Further efforts to leverage analysis of BAL constituents in BOS may offer great potential to provide additional in-depth and mechanistic insights into the pathogenesis of this complex disease.

Concepts: Scientific method, Pulmonology, Evaluation, Cystic fibrosis, Assessment, Organ transplant, Bronchoalveolar lavage, Bronchiolitis obliterans


In 2016 over 5 million reconstructive procedures were performed in the USA. The recent successes of clinical vascularized composite allotransplantations (VCA), hand and face transplantations included, established the tremendous potential of these life-enhancing reconstructions. Nevertheless, Due to limited availability and lifelong immunosuppression, application is limited. Long term banking of composite transplants may increase the availability of esthetically compatible parts with partial or complete HLA matching, reducing the risk of rejection and the immunosuppressive burden. The study purpose was to develop efficient protocols for the cryopreservation and transplantation of a complete rodent limb. Directional freezing is a method in which a sample is cooled at a constant velocity linear temperature gradient enabling precise control of the process and ice crystal formation. Vitrification is an alternative cryopreservation method in which the sample solidifies without the formation of ice crystals. Testing both methods on a rat hindlimb composite tissue transplantation model, we found reliable, reproducible and stable ways to preserve composite tissue. We believe that with further research and development cryopreservation may lead to composite tissue “banks”. This may lead to a paradigm shift from few and far apart emergent surgeries to wide scale, well planned, and better controlled elective surgeries. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: Crystal, Ice, Organ transplant, Nucleation, Copyright, Freezing, Cryobiology, Cryopreservation


Previous publications have described unethical organ procurement procedures in the People’s Republic of China. International awareness and condemnation contributed to the announcement abolishing the procurement of organs from executed prisoners starting from January 2015. Eighteen months after the announcement, and aligned with the upcoming International Congress of the Transplantation Society in Hong Kong, this paper revisits the topic and discusses whether the declared reform has indeed been implemented. It is noticeable that China has neither addressed nor included in the reform a pledge to end the procurement of organs from prisoners of conscience, nor have they initiated any legislative amendments. Recent reports have discussed an implausible discrepancy of officially reported steady annual transplant numbers and a steep expansion of the transplant infrastructure in China. This paper expresses the viewpoint that, in the current context, it is not possible to verify the veracity of the announced changes and it thus remains premature to include China as an ethical partner in the international transplant community. Until we have independent and objective evidence of a complete cessation of unethical organ procurement from prisoners, the medical community has a professional responsibility to maintain the academic embargo on Chinese transplant professionals. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: People's Republic of China, Organ transplant, Chinese language, Republic of China, North Korea, Copyright, Hong Kong, People's Republic


Despite countless media campaigns, organ donation rates in the United States have remained static while need has risen dramatically. New efforts to increase organ donation through public education are necessary to address the waiting list of over 100,000 patients. On May 1, 2012, the online social network, Facebook, altered its platform to allow members to specify “Organ Donor” as part of their profile. Upon such choice, members were offered a link to their state registry to complete an official designation, and their “friends” in the network were made aware of the new status as a donor. Educational links regarding donation were offered to those considering the new organ donor status. On the first day of the Facebook organ donor initiative, there were 13,054 new online registrations, representing a 21.1-fold increase over the baseline average of 616 registrations. This first-day effect ranged from 6.9× (Michigan) to 108.9× (Georgia). Registration rates remained elevated in the following 12 days. During the same time period, no increase was seen in registrations from the DMV. Novel applications of social media may prove effective in increasing organ donation rates and likewise might be utilized in other refractory public health problems in which communication and education are essential.

Concepts: United States, Sociology, Organ donation, Web 2.0, Social information processing, Social network service, MySpace, Facebook


With 40 donors and more than 100 transplant procedures per million population in 2015, Spain holds a privileged position worldwide in providing transplant services to its patient population. The Spanish success derives from a specific organizational approach to ensure the systematic identification of opportunities for organ donation and their transition to actual donation and to promote public support for the donation of organs after death. The Spanish results are to be highlighted in the context of the dramatic decline in the incidence of brain death and the changes in end-of-life care practices in the country since the beginning of the century. This prompted the system to conceive the 40 donors per million population plan, with three specific objectives: (i) promoting the identification and early referral of possible organ donors from outside of the intensive care unit to consider elective non-therapeutic intensive care and incorporate the option of organ donation into end-of-life care; (ii) facilitating the use of organs from expanded criteria and non-standard risk donors; and (iii) developing the framework for the practice of donation after circulatory death. This article describes the actions undertaken and their impact on donation and transplantation activities.

Concepts: Death, Biology, Heart, Organ, Organ transplant, Organ donation, Afterlife, Legal death


multicenter, 24-week, randomized trial investigating the effect of different once-daily, prolonged-release tacrolimus dosing regimens on renal function after de novo liver transplantation. Arm 1: prolonged-release tacrolimus (initial dose 0.2mg/kg/day); Arm 2: prolonged-release tacrolimus (0.15-0.175mg/kg/day) plus basiliximab; Arm 3: prolonged-release tacrolimus (0.2mg/kg/day delayed until Day 5) plus basiliximab. All patients received MMF plus a bolus of corticosteroid (no maintenance steroids). Primary endpoint: eGFR (MDRD4) at Week 24. Secondary endpoints: composite efficacy failure, BCAR and AEs. Baseline characteristics were comparable. Tacrolimus trough levels were readily achieved posttransplant; initially lower in Arm 2 versus 1 with delayed initiation in Arm 3. eGFR (MDRD4) was higher in Arms 2 and 3 versus 1 (p = 0.001, p = 0.047). Kaplan-Meier estimates of composite efficacy failure-free survival were 72.0%, 77.6%, 73.9% in Arms 1-3. BCAR incidence was significantly lower in Arm 2 versus 1 and 3 (p = 0.016, p = 0.039). AEs were comparable. Prolonged-release tacrolimus (0.15-0.175mg/kg/day) immediately posttransplant plus basiliximab and MMF (without maintenance corticosteroids) was associated with lower tacrolimus exposure, and significantly reduced renal function impairment and BCAR incidence versus prolonged-release tacrolimus (0.2mg/kg/day) administered immediately posttransplant. Delayed higher-dose prolonged-release tacrolimus initiation significantly reduced renal function impairment compared with immediate posttransplant administration, but BCAR incidence was comparable.

Concepts: Renal failure, Randomized controlled trial, Cirrhosis, Liver, Corticosteroid, Organ transplant, Liver transplantation, Liver dialysis


Interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy (IFTA) is found in approximately 25% of 1-year biopsies posttransplant. It is known that IFTA correlates with decreased graft survival when histological evidence of inflammation is present. Identifying the mechanistic etiology of IFTA is important to understanding why long-term graft survival has not changed as expected despite improved immunosuppression and dramatically reduced rates of clinical acute rejection (AR) (Services UDoHaH. Gene expression profiles of 234 graft biopsy samples were obtained with matching clinical and outcome data. Eighty-one IFTA biopsies were divided into subphenotypes by degree of histological inflammation: IFTA with AR, IFTA with inflammation, and IFTA without inflammation. Samples with AR (n = 54) and normally functioning transplants (TX; n = 99) were used in comparisons. A novel analysis using gene coexpression networks revealed that all IFTA phenotypes were strongly enriched for dysregulated gene pathways and these were shared with the biopsy profiles of AR, including IFTA samples without histological evidence of inflammation. Thus, by molecular profiling we demonstrate that most IFTA samples have ongoing immune-mediated injury or chronic rejection that is more sensitively detected by gene expression profiling. These molecular biopsy profiles correlated with future graft loss in IFTA samples without inflammation.

Concepts: Immune system, Gene, Gene expression, Cancer, Molecular biology, Biopsy, Transplant rejection, DNA microarray