Rapamycin attenuates liver graft injury in cirrhotic recipient - The significance of down-regulation of Rho-ROCK-VEGF pthway

K. Man, M. Su, K. T. Ng, C. M. Lo, Y. Zhao, J. W. Ho, C. K. Sun, Kin Wah Lee, S. T. Fan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate whether rapamycin could attenuate hepatic I/R injury in a cirrhotic rat liver transplantation model, we applied a rat orthotopic liver transplantation model using 100% or 50% of liver grafts and cirrhotic recipients. Rapamycin was given (0.2 mg/kg, i.v.) at 30 min before graft harvesting in the donor and 24 h before operation, 30 min before total hepatectomy and immediately after reperfusion in the recipient. Rapamycin significantly improved small-for-size graft survival from 8.3% (1/12) to 66.7% (8/12) (p = 0.027). It also increased 7-day survival rates of whole grafts (58.3%[7/12] vs. 83.3%[10/12], p = 0.371). Activation of hepatic stellate cells was mainly found in small-for-size grafts during the first 7 days after liver transplantation. Rapamycin suppressed expression of smooth muscle actin, which is a marker of hepatic stellate cell activation, especially in small-for-size grafts. Intragraft protein expression and mRNA levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were down-regulated by rapamycin at 48 h both in whole and small-for-size grafts. Consistently, mRNA levels and protein expression of Rho and ROCK I were decreased by rapamycin during the 48 h after liver transplantation. In conclusion, rapamycin attenuated graft injury in a cirrhotic rat liver transplantation model by suppression of hepatic stellate cell activation, related to down-regulation of Rho-ROCK-VEGF pathway.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-704
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatic stellate cell (HSC)
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Small-for-size graft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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