Researchers have found a way of increasing the efficiency of lung transplantation by protecting donor tissues. Toxic forms of oxygen (oxygen radicals) associated with inflammation and thrombosis are the most common cause of graft failure and mortality in present lung transplant procedures. In the April issue of Nature Biotechnology, scientists at the University of Washington's Medical School, University of Pennsylvania's Medical School, and Temple University's Hospital, led by Vladimir R. Muzykantov, report a therapeutic strategy that protects lung tissue from damage caused by oxygen radicals before and during transplantation.
Their strategy consists of specifically attaching catalases -- proteins (or enzymes) present naturally in the body that can break down oxygen radicals into less harmful molecules -- to the tissues in the lung most often exposed to oxidative stress. Once in place, the catalases detoxify oxygen radicals, thus protecting lung tissues. Their approach substantially reduced oxidative stress and lung graft injuries associated with cold storage and handling during transfer from donor to the final recipient in an animal model of lung transplantation.
Department of Pharmacology and IFEM
University of Pennsylvania Medical School
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