Attenuation of acute rejection in a rat liver transplantation model by a liver-targeted dextran prodrug of methylprednisolone

Anjaneya P. Chimalakonda, Donald L. Montgomery, Jon A. Weidanz, Imam H. Shaik, Justin H. Nguyen, John J. Lemasters, Eiji Kobayashi, Reza Mehvar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background. The use of methylprednisolone (MP) and other corticosteroids for the treatment of acute liver allograft rejection is associated with severe toxicities in nontarget tissues. Therefore, selective delivery of MP to the liver may improve its efficacy and alleviate its side effects. We investigated the effects of a novel liver-targeted dextran prodrug of MP (DMP) in an orthotopic rat liver transplantation (OLT) model. Methods. The model consisted of a high responder rejection strain combination (Dark Agouti donors and Lewis recipients). Liver recipients were intravenously administered saline or a single subtherapeutic dose of MP (5 mg/kg) as the parent drug (MP) or its prodrug (DMP). Different groups were then monitored for graft survival or euthanized 5 or 9 days posttransplantation. Plasma chemistry, including alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin, allograft histology, and survival duration were determined. Results. Untreated recipients exhibited elevated plasma levels of liver injury markers, progressive portal and venous inflammation and cellular infiltration in liver allografts, and a mean graft survival time (MST) of 10.5 days. MP treatment did not alter any of these parameters. In contrast, a single dose of DMP resulted in a decrease in plasma levels of liver injury markers, a decrease in histological grade of rejection on day 5, and a substantial increase in MST (27.5 days). Conclusions. These results demonstrate attenuation of acute rejection following local (allograft) immunosuppression with a single subtherapeutic dose of MP delivered as a liver-targeted prodrug. Dextran prodrugs may be useful for selective delivery of immunosuppressants to the liver following liver transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-685
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Dextran prodrugs
  • Local immunosuppression
  • Methylprednisolone
  • Targeted delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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