Sub-normothermic ex vivo lung perfusion attenuates graft inflammation in a rat transplant model.

Gloria JN, Yerxa J, Kesseli SJ, Davis RP, Samoylova ML, Barbas AS, Hartwig MG; J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2021 Jan 30:S0022-5223(21)00165-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2021.01.066  Duke Ex Vivo Organ Laboratory. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33640121

Ex vivo lung perfusion has emerged as a novel technique to safely preserve lungs before transplantation. Recent studies have demonstrated an accumulation of inflammatory molecules in the perfusate during ex vivo lung perfusion. These proinflammatory molecules, including damage-associated molecular patterns and inflammatory cytokines, may contribute to acute and chronic allograft dysfunction. At present, ex vivo lung perfusion is performed clinically at normothermic temperature (37°C). The effect of lowering temperature to the subnormothermic range during ex vivo lung perfusion has not been reported. In this study, we hypothesized that lower ex vivo lung perfusion temperature will lead to a reduction in allograft inflammation and result in improved post-transplant graft function.

Lewis rat heart-lung blocs underwent 4 hours of ex vivo lung perfusion in 3 temperature groups: 37°C (MP37), 30°C (MP30), and 25°C (MP25). In the control group, lung grafts were preserved by static cold storage before transplantation. After ex vivo lung perfusion or static cold storage, the left lung was transplanted for 2 hours before the animal was killed. Sera and tissue were collected and analyzed.

There were no differences in partial pressure of arterial oxygenation to fraction of inspired oxygen ratios during 4 hours of ex vivo lung perfusion between temperature groups. Tumor necrosis factor α significantly increased in the MP37 group during ex vivo lung perfusion, whereas this was not seen at lower temperatures. Extracellular DNA and high-mobility group box 1 perfusate concentrations increased significantly during ex vivo lung perfusion in all groups, but the rate of increase was diminished at lower temperature. Two hours post-transplant, there were no significant differences in partial pressure of arterial oxygenation to fraction of inspired oxygen ratios of the lung graft or serum damage-associated molecular pattern levels among groups. On histologic grading after transplantation, greater injury was observed in the MP30 and MP37 groups, but not MP25, when compared with static cold storage.

Subnormothermic ex vivo lung perfusion at 25°C reduces the production of inflammatory mediators during ex vivo lung perfusion and is associated with reduced histologic graft injury after transplantation.