Background: Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is a common late complication in lung transplant recipients (LTR). Chlamydia pneumoniae (C. pneumoniae) is a common but difficult to diagnose respiratory pathogen with a propensity to latency.
Methods: We studied the impact of C. pneumoniae on BOS development using donor-recipient serology obtained before transplantation in a cohort of 76 LTR.
Results: BOS was present in 29.9% patients (mean follow-up 866 days). High donor C. pneumoniae immunoglobulin (Ig)G titers were associated with BOS in the recipient (area under the curve [AUC] 0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.52-0.91, P=0.027), whereas high recipient titers were inversely associated with BOS (AUC 0.27, 95% CI 0.11-0.44, P=0.018). The risk of developing BOS was 75.0% in the case of a primary seromismatch for C. pneumoniae (D+/R-), whereas a reverse mismatch had a risk of 4.6% (likelihood ratio 9.8, P=0.02). In a multivariate model that included human leukocyte antigen matching, acute rejection and cytomegalovirus pneumonitis, C. pneumoniae IgG donor 32 or greater and C. pneumoniae IgG recipient 32 or greater remained positive and negative independent risk factors, respectively, for BOS in LTR. In the freedom from BOS analysis, BOS occurred more frequently and earlier in C. pneumoniae seropositive donors, and the reverse was true in seronegative recipients.
Conclusion: C. pneumoniae serology in donor and recipient is associated with the development of BOS in LTR.