Orthotopic rat kidney transplantation: A novel and simplified surgical approach

Ali R. Ahmadi, Le Qi, Kenichi Iwasaki, Wei Wang, Russell N. Wesson, Andrew M. Cameron, Zhaoli Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Kidney transplantation offers increased survival rates and improved quality of life for patients with end-stage renal disease, as compared to any type of renal replacement therapy. Over the past few decades, the rat kidney transplantation model has been used to study the immunological phenomena of rejection and tolerance. This model has become an indispensable tool to test new immunomodulatory pharmaceuticals and regimens prior to proceeding with expensive preclinical large animal studies. This protocol provides a detailed overview of how to reliably perform orthotopic kidney transplantation in rats. This protocol includes three distinctive steps that increase the probability of success: perfusion of the donor kidney by flushing through the portal vein and the use of a cuff system to anastomose the renal veins and ureters, thereby decreasing cold and warm ischemia times. Using this technique, we have achieved survival rates beyond 6 months with normal serum creatinine in animals with syngeneic or tolerant kidney transplants. Depending on the aim of the study, this model can be modified by pre- or posttransplant treatments to study the acute, chronic, cellular, or antibody-mediated rejection. It is a reproducible, reliable, and cost-effective animal model to study different aspects of kidney transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere59403
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number147
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Issue 147
  • Kidney
  • Medicine
  • Orthotopic
  • Rat
  • Rejection
  • Survival
  • Tolerance
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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