The researchers found that certain key cellular functions were still active in many areas of the animals’ bodies, including the heart, liver and kidneys.
A group of scientists from Yale University (USA) has managed to restore the function of several cells and organs in pigs one hour after their death, according to an article published this Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The researchers induced cardiac arrest in anesthetized animals and, 60 minutes after death, treated them with OrganExa technology that consists of a perfusion device similar to extracorporeal circulation machines — which do the work of the heart and lungs during an operation — and an experimental fluid that contains compounds that can stimulate cell health and suppress inflammation in whole body.
After six hours they found that key cellular functions were still active in many areas of the mammalian body, including the heart, liver and kidneys. In addition, some organ functions had been restored. For example, they found evidence of electrical activity in the heart, which retained the ability to contract.
Nenad Sestan, professor of neuroscience and lead author of the study, explained that they were surprisingly successful in restoring circulation throughout the body.
What could it be used for?
“If we could restore certain cellular functions in the dead brain, an organ known to be more susceptible to ischemia [suministro inadecuado de sangre]we hypothesized that something similar could be achieved in other vital transplantable organs as well,” Sestan added.
Participating researchers believe that, over time, OrganEx could have a number of potential applications, such as extend shelf life of the organs in human patients and expand the availability of donor organs for transplantation.
However, they cautioned that further study is needed to understand the apparently restored motor functions in the animals, while noting that rigorous review by other scientists and bioethicists is required.
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