Mechanisms of graft rejection after lung transplantation

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Purpose of review

To date, outcomes after lung transplantation are far worse than after transplantation of other solid organs. New insights into mechanisms that contribute to graft rejection and tolerance after lung transplantation remain of great interest. This review examines the recent literature on the role of innate and adaptive immunity in shaping the fate of lung grafts.

Recent findings

Innate and adaptive immune cells orchestrate allograft rejection after transplantation. Innate immune cells such as neutrophils are recruited to the lung graft early after reperfusion and subsequently promote allograft rejection. Although it is widely recognized that CD4+ T lymphocytes in concert with CD8+ T cells promote graft rejection, regulatory Foxp3+ CD4+ T, central memory CD8+ T cells, and natural killer cells can facilitate tolerance.


This review highlights interactions between innate and adaptive immune pathways and how they contribute to lung allograft rejection. These findings lay a foundation for the design of new therapeutic strategies that target both innate and adaptive immune responses.

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