an unexpected result in rat heart preservation

From: Doug Skrecky (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 10:08:23 MDT

Preservation and Resuscitation of Rat Isolated Heart for 10-26 Days in
Perfluorocarbon and Silica Gel

Seki, K.

Cryobiology 39(4): 305-306 December 1999


    Clinical transplants of human lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, and
pancreas are routinely performed today. However, with the number of people
waiting for transplants increasing yearly, the shortage of donors has
become a serious problem, prolonging the waiting time until
surgery. Moreover, at present even if a donor is found, organs, unlike
blood, cannot be preserved over long periods, and the supply system for
such organs remains inadequate. the inability to preserve donor organs for
long periods is the main reason why no system similar to a blood bank for
organs exist. Cold preservation of transplant organs is the mainstream
practice, but because of the preservation limit of 4-24 h, a new technique
for immediate preservation and later resuscitation is needed. Here we
demostrate through surface cardiac electrocardiogram (SECG) recordings
that a removed rat isolated heart, which has been surrounded by silica gel
in a wire mesh sieve, immersed in perfluorocarbon solution, and
refrigerated at 4 C for 10-26 days, can be resuscited upon irrgation with
a Langendorff perfusion solution and that the nerve cells continue to
function and support life. The idea that removed rat hearts could survive
more than 10-26 days under ischemic conditions came from the discovery of
Seki and Toyoshima 1998, Nature 395, 853-854 that, under anhydrous
conditions, tardigrades had the viability to withstand high hydrostatic
pressures of up to 600 MPa. We reasoned that lengthening the rat isolated
heart preservation period would depend not on the components of the
storage solution, but on the absolute amount of free water, and that
resuscitation after a long preservation period would be possible by
providing the same conditions for the physiological mechanisms of
dehydration and water absorption within the cells of the heart tissue as
were used with the tardigrades. In future, studies to verify the present
findings will be necessary. In conclusion, the present study: (1) verified
by SECGs that an extirpated rat isolated heart could be preserved for at
least 10-26 days and successfully resuscitated and, (2) demonstrated that
preservation and resuscitation of an extirpated rat heart is made possible
by active reduction of free water in tissue cells.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:12:52 MDT