Reperfusion damage to the bile canaliculi in transplanted human liver

Juan C. Cutrin, Dario Cantino, Fiorella Biasi, Elena Chiarpotto, Mauro Salizzoni, Enzo Andorno, Graziella Massano, Giacomo Lanfranco, Mario Rizzetto, Alberto Boveris, Giuseppe Poli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 19 patients who have undergone orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT), the trend and degree of cholestasis was statistically monitored in terms of plasma levels of L-γ-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and total bilirubin. In addition, the ultrastructure of the bile canaliculus was examined during the entire OLT procedure, i.e., during explantation, cold ischemia, and after 60 to 90 minutes of organ reperfusion. Cholestasis was evident from the second day after surgery, with a peak after approximately 10 to 16 days. Defined, small changes in the functional state of actin filaments were noted in the bile canalicular area after prolonged ischemia. But the morphological status of the bile canaliculi changed dramatically after reperfusion. In fact, the mean area and perimeter of the canaliculi had increased significantly, and there was a marked loss in the number of bile microvilli per unit of canalicular area. The bile canaliculus appears to be one of the liver structures most susceptible to ischemia-reperfusion damage. A series of biochemical changes occurring during ischemia and after reoxygenation of the transplanted liver, especially, would provide a reason for the observed early morphological damage of the bile canaliculus, which, in turn, would explain the cholestasis of these patients in the first posttransplantation period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1057
Number of pages5
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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