[Orthotopic liver transplant in rats. Surgical technique, complications and treatment].
ABSTRACT The orthotopic rat liver transplant model is a widely used technique in transplantation research. It has many advantages over other animal transplant models because of its availability and low cost. However, it must be emphasized that success with the rat model requires thorough training. The aim of this paper is to describe the microsurgical technique involved in 60 rat liver transplants and to discuss the complications and their treatments. Forty-nine liver transplants were performed at the Experimental Laboratory of the University Hospital, Ontario, Canada (ELUH) and 11 were performed at the Laboratorio de Trasplante de Organos de la Facultad de Ciencias Médicas de La Plata, Buenos Aires. Argentina (LTO). Among the transplants performed at the ELUH, the observed complications were haemorrhage (n = 4), pneumothorax (n = 1), anastomotic failure (n = 15), bile leak (n = 3), and bile duct necrosis (n = 9). The remaining 17 rats at the ELUH were healthy at day 7 after surgery. Animal survival immediately postop, at 24 hours postop and at 7 days postop was achieved with the 9th, 20th and 21st transplants respectively. At the LTO, 3 rats died as a result of anaesthetic complications. Seven-day animal survival was achieved with the 11th transplant. We beleive that the description of the orthotopic rat liver transplantation technique, as well as the discussion regarding complications and their management, can be useful for researchers interested in performing liver transplantation in rats.