Xenogeneic Cross-Circulation for Extracorporeal Recovery of Injured Human Lungs

Nat Med. 2020 Jul;26(7):1102-1113

Our findings suggest that cross-circulation can serve as a complementary approach to clinical EVLP to recover injured donor lungs that could not otherwise be utilized for transplantation, as well as a translational research platform for immunomodulation and advanced organ bioengineering.

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Patients awaiting lung transplantation face high wait-list mortality, as injury precludes the use of most donor lungs. Although ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) is able to recover marginal quality donor lungs, extension of normothermic support beyond 6 h has been challenging. Here we demonstrate that acutely injured human lungs declined for transplantation, including a lung that failed to recover on EVLP, can be recovered by cross-circulation of whole blood between explanted human lungs and a Yorkshire swine. This xenogeneic platform provided explanted human lungs a supportive, physiologic milieu and systemic regulation that resulted in functional and histological recovery after 24 h of normothermic support. Our findings suggest that cross-circulation can serve as a complementary approach to clinical EVLP to recover injured donor lungs that could not otherwise be utilized for transplantation, as well as a translational research platform for immunomodulation and advanced organ bioengineering.