NDP-MSH treatment recovers marginal lungs during ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP)

Caterina Lonati, Michele Battistin, Daniele E. Dondossola, Giulia A. Bassani, Daniela Brambilla, Riccardo Merighi, Patrizia Leonardi, Andrea Carlin, Marica Meroni, Alberto Zanella, Anna Catania, Stefano Gatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The increasing use of marginal lungs for transplantation encourages novel approaches to improve graft quality. Melanocortins and their receptors (MCRs) exert multiple beneficial effects in pulmonary inflammation. We tested the idea that treatment with the synthetic α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone analogue [Nle4,D-Phe7]-α-MSH (NDP-MSH) during ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) could exert positive influences in lungs exposed to different injuries. Rats were assigned to one of the following protocols (N = 10 each): 1) ischemia/reperfusion (IR) or 2) cardiac death (CD) followed by ex vivo perfusion. NDP-MSH treatment was performed in five rats of each protocol before lung procurement and during EVLP. Pulmonary function and perfusate concentration of gases, electrolytes, metabolites, nitric-oxide, mediators, and cells were assessed throughout EVLP. ATP content and specific MCR expression were investigated in perfused lungs and in biopsies collected from rats in resting conditions (Native, N = 5). NDP-MSH reduced the release of inflammatory mediators in perfusates of both the IR and the CD groups. Treatment was likewise associated with a lesser amount of leukocytes (IR: p = 0.034; CD: p = 0.002) and reduced lactate production (IR: p = 0.010; CD: p = 0.008). In lungs exposed to IR injury, the NDP-MSH group showed increased ATP content (p = 0.040) compared to controls. In CD lungs, a significant improvement of vascular (p = 0.002) and airway (Ppeak: p < 0.001, compliance: p < 0.050, pO2: p < 0.001) parameters was observed. Finally, the expression of MC1R and MC5R was detected in both native and ex vivo-perfused lungs. The results indicate that NDP-MSH administration preserves lung function through broad positive effects on multiple pathways and suggest that exploitation of the melanocortin system during EVLP could improve reconditioning of marginal lungs before transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170552
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Cardiac death (CD)
  • Ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP)
  • Ex vivo reconditioning
  • Ischemia/reperfusion (IR)
  • Melanocortin receptor (MCR)
  • α-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone [Nle4, D-Phe7]-α-MSH (NDP-MSH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'NDP-MSH treatment recovers marginal lungs during ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this