University of Wisconsin (UW) and Eurocollins (EC) solutions are widely used for preservation of organs before transplantation. However, effect of storage solutions on vascular interface for transplant success is not known. In this study, we have used rat aorta as a model and assessed the effects of cold storage in UW and EC solutions on smooth muscle and endothelial function and the morphology. Smooth muscle and endothelial functions of the rat aorta were assessed using in vitro isometric tension measurement. Morphologic studies were done with scanning and transmission electron microscopy. No significant difference in contractile response to either norepinephrine (NE) or potassium chloride was observed between control aorta and aorta stored in UW solution for 1 hr or 24 hr. In contrast, sensitivity, but not the reactivity to NE and KCl, was increased in aorta stored in EC solution for 1 hr. If the tissues were stored in EC solution for 24 hr, both sensitivity and reactivity to NE and KCl were significantly reduced. Relaxatory response to acetylcholine, in endothelium-intact vessels were reduced in aortas stored in EC solution, but not in UW solution. The magnitude of relaxations observed in tissues stored in the EC solution for 24 hr was less than in tissues stored for 1 hr. Sodium nitroprusside elicited similar relaxatory response in endothelium-denuded control tissue and in tissues stored in UW and EC solution. Electron microscopy data revealed marked swelling of the cell, loss of mitochondria and other intracellular organelles, and striking calcium deposits after preservation of the vessels in EC for 1 or 24 hr. In aorta stored in UW solution for 24 hr, endothelial and smooth muscle cells were intact, with moderate-size vacuoles in the cytoplasm. These results suggest that the UW solution is more suitable than EC solution for short-term preoperative storage of blood vessels.
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