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Nitric Oxide Improves Liver Transplant Odds

Protects liver cells from death during transition period

FRIDAY, May 28, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- The survival of transplanted livers may be greatly improved if they're treated with nitric oxide, says a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study in the June issue of Hepatology.

Some transplanted livers suffer damage when blood flow is restored to them after the transplant. This damage occurs when oxygen-deprived (ischemic) liver tissue is reintroduced to adequate blood flow.

This study found nitric oxide protected cultured rat liver cells from death during the process of reintroduction, known as reperfusion.

"Reperfusion stress precipitates the death of the tissue, but our results suggest that the way we reperfuse the liver can reduce injury to it," study senior investigator Dr. John Lemasters, a professor of cell and developmental biology, said in a prepared statement.

"Nitric oxide protects the liver during the reperfusion phase, after ischemia has occurred, and this means we can intervene in a meaningful way. We can treat after disease onset," Lemasters said.

More information

The American Liver Foundation has more about liver transplant.

SOURCE: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, news release, May 24, 2004
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