An Experiment "challenging the usual" Bring life back to the cells and organs of dead pigs!

Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the organs and cells of the mammalian body. But if the blood flow stops, these cells quickly die and infect the organs.

Death in organs and tissues removed from the body can be slowed down, saving time on organ transplants. However, maintaining entire organ systems minutes after the heart stops beating can be challenging.

Modern methods include the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) system, which pumps blood into a machine that removes carbon dioxide and adds oxygen. While this serves the purpose of balancing the gases, each minute of delay results in an accumulation of damage.

To address this problem, the new system has been shown to restore some organ, cellular and molecular function in dead pigs and preserve their tissues, even if treatment is started as little as an hour after cardiac arrest.

The researchers adapted an existing technology called BrainEx, which has been shown to restore some brain function in isolated pigs hours after death.

His new system, called OrganEx, is also designed for use on all large mammals. OrganEx consists of device and liquid.

The device is connected to the circulatory system. It creates a heart-like pulse and supplies the fluid with oxygen, similar to ECMO.

The device also includes a range of sensors for important circulatory functions such as metabolism, hemoglobin, pressure, and flow.

An artificial fluid mixed with the blood of an animal is pumped in a 1:1 ratio through the entire body of a dead animal. This fluid, unlike blood, is not made up of cells, although it is designed to protect cells from damage and carry oxygen and drugs throughout the body.

The system was tested in pigs one hour after cardiac arrest and in control groups, where organ function was checked immediately after blood flow stopped and after one hour and seven hours. The tissue, stored at body temperature, continued to process fuel and produce waste at a controlled rate.

A total of one hundred pigs were used before published trials, including those used to develop the system.

Researchers have found that OrganEx can maintain tissue integrity, reduce cell death, and restore certain molecular and cellular processes in vital organs such as the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys.

OrganEx outperformed ECMO in every area. Organs treated with the new system were less prone to bleeding or tissue swelling. The researchers observed gene expression patterns specific to repair processes in certain organs and cell types.

The team also studied the structure of brain cells that commonly suffer damage associated with ischemia.

The number of brain cells was reduced in all treatment groups, except for OrganEx, where minimal damage occurred in some parts of the brain, and cells in the prefrontal cortex recovered to a level similar to the group without warm ischemia.

The main test for the experiment’s success was the restoration of organ function.

Brain function was measured using a continuous electroencephalogram. The scientists were adamant in distinguishing between the brain function they found and the electrical activity that could indicate a certain level of “life” (brain death was the main definition of death in a clinical setting).

While brain death continued in the OrganEx group, the cadavers showed the movement of the head and neck after a contrast agent used for more detailed imaging was injected into the carotid artery in the neck, which carries blood to the brain and head. This movement did not occur in live anesthetized animals or in the ECMO group.

“Informed evaluation is needed to find out why head and neck movements occurred after contrast injection only in the OrganEx group,” the researchers wrote.

They say this shows that the motor function has been preserved, at least in the “cervical region of the spinal cord or its roots.”

In the heart, some spontaneous activity was detected by ECG, and some left ventricular cell contractions were observed in the OrganEx group that was not observed in the ECMO group.

Other organs such as the liver and kidneys also showed serious recovery signs.

While human trials of this system are still a long way off, the researchers believe that OrganEx has great potential for human organ transplantation. They hope this will reduce the time of preservation of the transplanted organ, which, for example, will allow organs to be transported further to needy recipients.

“The results highlight the ability of the previously underestimated mammalian organism to partially recover from interruption of blood flow, which may increase the availability of organs for transplantation,” the researchers wrote.

However, the team says more research is needed “to fully understand OrganEx’s potential to help repair cells after death or circulatory interruption.”

The study was published in the journal Nature.

Source: Science Alert.