Unusual presentation of graft-versus-host disease in pediatric liver transplant recipients: evidence of late and recurrent disease

Pediatr Transplant. 1999 Aug;3(3):236-42. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-3046.1999.00043.x.


Graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) is a multi-organ disease caused by mature donor T cells that are activated by alloantigens expressed by the host antigen-presenting cells. GvHD has been reported after solid organ transplantation with two principal presentations: humoral and cellular. In the cellular type of GvHD after liver transplantation the symptoms are identical to the GvHD after bone marrow transplant, except that the liver is spared because it lacks host antigens. We have described three cases of intestinal GvHD after pediatric liver transplant with an unusual recurrent late presentation in two patients. Two patients were female, and their age at the time of transplant was 8 and 9 months, respectively, and one was an 8-month-old male. They all received reduced liver allografts of identical blood type from three different donors. One patient received two doses of donor bone marrow cell infusion. Two patients received double immunosuppressive therapy constituted by tacrolimus at a dose of 0.05 mg/kg p.o. b.i.d. and steroids 10 mg p.o. daily. One patient received a triple drug immunosuppression with tacrolimus (0.05 mg/kg p.o. b.i.d.), steroids (10 mg p.o. daily) and mycophenolate mofetil (125 mg p.o. b.i.d.). Diagnosis of intestinal GvHD was confirmed histologically on intestinal biopsies performed at the time of presentation of the clinical symptoms or at autopsy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / administration & dosage
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Child
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colon, Sigmoid / pathology
  • Duodenum / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Graft vs Host Disease / diagnosis*
  • Graft vs Host Disease / immunology
  • Graft vs Host Disease / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infant
  • Intestinal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Intestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Mycophenolic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Tacrolimus / administration & dosage
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Tacrolimus