The Lymphatic Phenotype of Lung Allografts in Patients With Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome and Restrictive Allograft Syndrome


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Abstract

BackgroundChronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD), presenting as bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) or restrictive allograft syndrome (RAS) is the major limiting factor of long-term survival in lung transplantation. Its pathogenesis is still obscure. In BOS, persistent alloimmune injury and chronic airway inflammation are suggested. One of the main tasks of the lymphatic vessel (LV) system is the promotion of immune cell trafficking. The formation of new LVs has been shown to trigger chronic allograft rejection in kidney transplants. We therefore sought to address the role of lymphangiogenesis in CLAD.MethodsFormalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples of 22 patients receiving a lung retransplantation due to BOS or RAS were collected. Lymphatic vessel density (LVD) was determined by immunohistochemical staining for podoplanin. Lung tissue obtained from 13 non-CLAD patients served as control. The impact of LVD on graft survival was assessed.ResultsLymphatic vessel density in CLAD patients did not differ from those in control subjects (median number of LVs per bronchiole: 4.75 (BOS), 6.47 (RAS), 4.25 (control), P = 0.97). Moreover, the number of LVs was not associated with regions of cellular infiltrates (median number of LVs per bronchiole: with infiltrates, 5.00 (BOS), 9.00 (RAS), 4.00 (control), P = 0.62; without infiltrates, 4.5 (BOS), 0.00 (RAS), 4.56 (control), P = 0.74). Lymphatic vessel density did not impact the time to development of BOS or RAS in lung transplantation (low vs high LVD: 38.5 vs 86.0 months, P = 0.15 [BOS]; 60.5 vs 69.5 months, P = 0.80 [RAS]).ConclusionsUnlike chronic organ failure in kidney transplantation, lymphangiogenesis is not altered in CLAD patients. Our findings highlight unique immunological processes leading to BOS and RAS.

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