Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Volume 557 Issue 7703, 3 May 2018

Lifeline for livers

A key limiting factor for successful liver transplants is the availability and quality of donor organs. In this issue, David Nasralla, Constantin Coussios, Peter Friend and colleagues report the outcomes from a trial investigating a new method of liver preservation prior to transplantation. Normally, a donor liver is preserved in ice, but this can cause damage to the organ. The researchers tackled this problem by deploying a technique called normothermic machine perfusion (NMP). This maintains the donor organs at body temperature and takes deoxygenated blood from the liver into a machine where it is oxygenated and bolstered with crucial nutrients before being pumped back into the liver. The technique allowed more donor livers to be transplanted having been preserved up to 54% longer and, despite this, reduced graft injury by 50% compared with organs preserved on ice. The team hopes that NMP could increase the number of viable organs available for transplant operations.

Cover image: AXS Studio, Inc.

This Week

Top of page ⤴

News in Focus

Top of page ⤴


Top of page ⤴


Top of page ⤴


Top of page ⤴


Top of page ⤴


  • News & Views

    • Inappropriate cellular inflammation can cause disease. It emerges that the protein SAMHD1 prevents the release of newly replicated DNA from the nucleus, blocking an undesirable pro-inflammatory response.

      • Madzia P. Crossley
      • Karlene A. Cimprich
      News & Views
    • As the exoplanet WASP-107b orbits its host star, its atmosphere escapes to form a comet-like tail. Helium atoms detected in the escaping gases give astronomers a powerful tool for investigating exoplanetary atmospheres.

      • Drake Deming
      News & Views
    • Ichthyornis dispar is a key extinct bird species from when birds were shedding characteristics of their dinosaur ancestors and evolving their current features. A reconstructed skull of I. dispar now illuminates this transition.

      • Kevin Padian
      News & Views
    • A chemical system has been made in which two rings on an axle can switch places by allowing a smaller ring to slip through the cavity of a larger one. The advance opens up potential applications in molecular data storage.

      • Steve Goldup
      News & Views
    • People waiting for a liver transplant can die before an organ is found, or, if one is available but of poor quality, there is a risk of transplant failure. A machine that preserves livers might offer a way forward.

      • Stefan Schneeberger
      News & Views
  • Articles

    • Analyses of genetic variation and population structure based on over 3,000 cultivated rice (Oryza sativa) genomes reveal subpopulations that correlate with geographic location and patterns of introgression consistent with multiple rice domestication events.

      • Wensheng Wang
      • Ramil Mauleon
      • Hei Leung
      Article Open Access
    • Normothermic machine perfusion of the liver improved early graft function, demonstrated by reduced peak serum aspartate transaminase levels and early allograft dysfunction rates, and improved organ utilization and preservation times, although no differences were seen in graft or patient survival.

      • David Nasralla
      • Constantin C. Coussios
      • Peter J. Friend
    • High-resolution cryo-electron microscopy structures of the membrane-pore-forming domain of the mouse gasdermin GSDMA3 show that it forms pores with 26-, 27- or 28-fold symmetry and indicate that it may also form a parallel, soluble, pre-pore ring structure.

      • Jianbin Ruan
      • Shiyu Xia
      • Hao Wu
  • Letters

Top of page ⤴
Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing


Quick links