Cytoprotective effects of a cyclic rgd peptide in steatotic liver cold ischemia and reperfusion injury

C. Fondevila, X. D. Shen, S. Duarte, R. W. Busuttil, A. J. Coito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The serious need for expanding the donor population has attracted attention to the use of steatotic donor livers in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). However, steatotic livers are highly susceptible to hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). Expression of fibronectin (FN) by endothelial cells is an important feature of hepatic response to injury. We report the effect of a cyclic RGD peptide with high affinity for the α5β1, the FN integrin receptor, in a rat model of steatotic liver cold ischemia, followed by transplantation. RGD peptide therapy ameliorated steatotic IRI and improved the recipient survival rate. It significantly inhibited the recruitment of monocyte/macrophages and neutrophils, and depressed the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and interferon (IFN)-γ. Moreover, it resulted in profound inhibition of metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) expression, a gelatinase implied in leukocyte migration in damaged livers. Finally, we show that RGD peptide therapy reduced the expression of the 17-kDa active caspase-3 and the number of apoptotic cells in steatotic OLTs. The observed protection against steatotic liver IRI by the cyclic RGD peptides with high affinity for the α5β1 integrin suggests that this integrin is a potential therapeutic target to allow the successful utilization of marginal steatotic livers in transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2240-2250
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Fibronectin
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Inflammation
  • Integrin
  • Ischemia/reperfusion injury
  • Liver transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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