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Geiger, Dominik; Buchholz, Stefan; Michel, Sebastian; Abicht, Jan; Reiche, Christoph A.; Reichart, Bruno; Hagl, Christian; Brenner, Paolo; Schramm, René (2015): The Coronary Microcirculation in Hamster-to-Rat Cardiac Xenografts. In: European Surgical Research, Vol. 55, No. 4: pp. 364-373


BACKGROUND The aim of this study was to establish a new experimental model to directly analyse the coronary microcirculation in cardiac xenografts. METHODS Intravital fluorescence microscopy (IVM) of the subepicardial microcirculation in heterotopically transplanted hamster-to-rat cardiac xenografts was performed at 30 and 90 min of reperfusion. We quantitatively assessed the microcirculatory perfusion characteristics as well as the interactions of leukocytes and platelets with the endothelium of postcapillary coronary venules in non-sensitised as well as sensitised recipients. RESULTS In this first experimental IVM study of cardiac xenografts, we successfully visualised the subepicardial microcirculation, i.e. feeding arterioles, nutritive capillaries and draining postcapillary venules, during reperfusion. Leukocyte-endothelial and platelet-endothelial cell interactions could be quantified. In the non-sensitised group, the myocardial microcirculation remained stable during the observation period of 90 min, whereas in the sensitised group, xenografts were rejected immediately. CONCLUSIONS We established a model for the assessment of the microcirculatory dysfunction and inflammation during ischaemia/reperfusion injury in hamster-to-rat cardiac xenografts.