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Median liver lobe of woodchuck as a model to study hepatic outflow obstruction: A pilot study

: Dahmen, U.; Radtke, A.; Schröder, T.; Chi, H.; Madrahimov, N.; Lu, M.; Schenk, A.; Peitgen, K.H.; Dirsch, O.


Liver international 28 (2008), Nr.9, S.1236-1244
ISSN: 1478-3223
ISSN: 1478-3231
Fraunhofer MEVIS ()

Background: Hepatic vein outflow obstruction represents an important clinical problem in living-liver transplantation. An animal model is required to study the influence of outflow obstruction on the intrahepatic regulation of liver perfusion and the subsequent effects on liver injury and recovery during liver regeneration. The size of woodchucks enables the use of standard clinical imaging procedures.
Aim: This study aims at describing hepatic vascular and territorial anatomy of the woodchuck liver based on a virtual three-dimensional (3D) visualization of the hepatic vascular tree.
Methods: Woodchucks (n=6) were subjected to an all-in-one computed tomography (CT) after contrasting the vascular and the biliary tree. CT-images were used for 3D-reconstruction of hepatic and portal veins and calculation of the corresponding portal and hepatic vein territories and their respective volume using hepavision (MeVisLab). A virtual resection was performed following the Cantlie-line and territories at risk were calculated.
Results: The median lobe of the woodchuck liver has a similar vascular supply and drainage as the human liver with two portal (right and left median portal vein) and three hepatic veins (left, middle and right median hepatic vein). The corresponding portal and hepatic vein subterritories are of a similar relative size compared with the human liver. Virtual splitting of the median lobe of the woodchuck liver revealed areas at risk of focal outflow obstruction, as observed clinically.
Conclusion: The median liver lobe of the woodchuck represents, to a small extent, the hepatic vascular anatomy of the human liver and is therefore a suitable potential model to correlate repeated imaging of impaired liver perfusion with histomorphological findings of liver damage and regeneration.