Brandl, U., M. Erhardt, H. Jockle, S. Michel, E. Thein, I. Bittmann, P. Brenner, L. Burdorf, C. Hammer, M. Schmoeckel and B. Reichart. Fluorescent microspheres reveal different regional blood flow in hyperacutely rejected nontransgenic and hDAF pig hearts. Transplant Proc. 38:733-4, 2006.

Classic features of hyperacute rejection show differential severity in the inner compared to the outer myocardium. In the present study, regional blood flow (RBF) measured by fluorescent microspheres served as a marker of the extent of hyperacute rejection. Using a working heart model, hearts of nontransgenic and hDAF transgenic pigs were perfused with human blood. Additionally, hDAF transgenic pig hearts were perfused with human blood containing GAS914 or the GPIIb/IIIa inhibitor tirofiban. Injections of fluorescent microspheres into the donor heart were performed in situ and during perfusion. Reference arterial blood samples were collected from the inferior aorta and the afterload line. Perfusion was terminated before hyperacutely rejected hearts failed to pump against the afterload column. RBF was determined in tissue samples of standardized areas of the left atrium and ventricle. Each specimen was divided into subepicardial and subendocardial tissue samples. Fluorescence intensity was measured using an automated luminescence spectrometer. At the end of perfusion with human blood, hyperacutely rejected nontransgenic pig hearts showed a higher RBF in the subendocardium. In hDAF-transgenic pig hearts perfused with unmodified human blood the subendocardial/subepicardial blood flow ratio changed in favor of the subepicardium. This ratio was not further improved by GAS914. In contrast, tirofiban was able to assimilate subepicardial and subendocardial blood flow. In conclusion, RBF of hyperacutely rejected pig hearts was inhomogeneous. Inhibition of complement activation improved the reduced subepicardial RBF, but depletion of antibodies had no positive effect. The ability of tirofiban to further increase subepicardial RBF affirms thrombosis of subepicardial veins as the defining characteristic of hyperacute rejection.