The effects of donor age on organ transplants: A review and implications for aging research


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Abstract

Despite the considerable amount of data available on the effect of donor age upon the outcomes of organ transplantation, these still represent an underutilized resource in aging research. In this review, we have compiled relevant studies that analyze the effect of donor age in graft and patient survival following liver, kidney, pancreas, heart, lung and cornea transplantation, with the aim of deriving insights into possible differential aging rates between the different organs. Overall, older donor age is associated with worse outcomes for all the organs studied. Nonetheless, the donor age from which the negative effects upon graft or patient survival starts to be significant varies between organs. In kidney transplantation, this age is within the third decade of life while the data for heart transplantation suggest a significant effect starting from donors over age 40. This threshold was less defined in liver transplantation where it ranges between 30 and 50 years. The results for the pancreas are also suggestive of a detrimental effect starting at a donor age of around 40, although these are mainly derived from simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplantation data. In lung transplantation, a clear effect was only seen for donors over 65, with negative effects of donor age upon transplantation outcomes likely beginning after age 50. Corneal transplants appear to be less affected by donor age as the majority of studies were unable to find any effect of donor age during the first few years posttransplantation. Overall, patterns of the effect of donor age in patient and graft survival were observed for several organ types and placed in the context of knowledge on aging.HighlightsData on the effects of donor age upon the outcomes of organ transplantation are an underutilized resource in biogerontologyWe compiled data on the effect of donor age following liver, kidney, pancreas, heart, lung and cornea transplantationOlder donor age is associated with worse outcomes for all the organs studiedThe donor age from which the negative effects upon survival starts to be significant varies between organs

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