The critical injury of cold preservation is to the hepatic microcirculation. Oxygen free radical injury and cell swelling have been proposed to be causes of allograft failure, and new solutions such as Marshall’s isotonic citrate and University of Wisconsin (UW) solutions were designed to prevent cell swelling and free radical injury. Experiments were done to determine whether Marshall’s solution and UW solution protect the microcirculation, and whether they do so by preventing cell swelling or free radical—induced injury. To determine if the new solutions reduce sinusoidal lining cell injury, rat livers were examined after preservation at 4°C in NaCl 0.9% and CaCl2 2 mM for 4 hr and 8 hr, in Collins’ solution for 8 hr, and in both UW and isotonic citrate solutions for 8 hr and 16 hr. Next, the role of cell swelling in preservation injury was studied by storing livers in hypotonic solutions that accelerate liver weight gain, and in a choline chloride-based preservation solution. Finally, to evaluate the role of active oxygen species, SOD, catalase, and allopurinol were added to preservation solutions. The effect of allopurinol alone was also studied. In a related study, sucrose was substituted for the free radical scavenger, mannitol, in isotonic citrate solution. All livers were studied by light microscopy after perfusion-fixation. Storage in UW and isotonic citrate solutions resulted in clear improvement in the morphology of the sinusoidal lining. Increasing the rate of liver weight gain by the use of hypotonic solutions did not accelerate the endothelial injury. Choline chloride-based solution prevented weight gain during preservation, but unlike UW or isocitrate solutions it did not retard the microcirculator y injury. After preservation in the presence of SOD and catalase, or allopurinol, no improvement in the defined morphological features of the endothelial injury was noted when compared with respective controls; nor was the benefit of isotonic citrate solution lessened by the removal of the free radical scavenger mannitol. We conclude that microvascular injury produced by cold injury is due neither to free radical-mediated injury nor to cell swelling. As both UW and isotonic citrate solutions provide significant protection to the microcirculation, they must do so by a yet-undetermined mechanism.