Scientists from Yale University, authors of the finding, assure that in the future it could have a great impact on human transplants.
Organs and tissues of dead pigs have returned to function an hour after the death of the animals thanks to a treatment with a new cellular protective fluid developed by scientists at Yale University (United States). By restoring blood circulation, it could "help extend the health of human organs during surgery and expand the availability of donor organs," say the researchers.
The group had already managed to restore some functions in the brain of a dead pig, affected by the lack of blood supply, in 2019. Once achieved, it was proposed to achieve "something similar in other vital organs that could be transplantable," explains Nenad Sestan, professor of Neuroscience, who has directed both studies. The last of them has been published in the magazine 'Nature'.
The treatment involves irrigating the organs with an "experimental fluid containing compounds that can promote cellular health and suppress inflammation in the body." The technique requires the use of a perfusion machine similar to those used to pump blood during surgery. The pigs, previously anesthetized, were put into cardiac arrest and "one hour after death, they were treated with OrganEx."
Six hours later the results were seen. "Certain key cellular functions" were activated in the heart, liver, and kidneys. In addition, "some organ functions were restored," such as cardiac electrical activity, which allowed the heart to contract. There was also circulation "throughout the body." "We were surprised," Sestan said. "When the heart stops beating, the organs begin to swell, the blood vessels collapse and circulation is blocked." In the brain, however, there was no electrical activity.
The finding could "prolong the lifespan of organs in human patients," "expand the availability of donor organs for transplantation," and "help treat organs or tissues damaged by ischemia during heart attacks or strokes."