Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome: the final frontier for lung transplantation

Chest. 2011 Aug;140(2):502-508. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-2838.


Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) is a form of chronic lung allograft dysfunction that affects a majority of lung transplant recipients and is the principal factor limiting long-term transplant survival. BOS is characterized by progressive airflow obstruction unexplained by acute rejection, infection, or other coexistent condition. Although BOS is a proven useful clinical syndrome that identifies patients at increased risk for death, its clinical course and underlying causative factors are now recognized to be increasingly heterogeneous. Regardless of the clinical history, the primary pathologic correlate of BOS is bronchiolitis obliterans, a condition of intraluminal airway fibrosis. This article highlights the body of developing research illustrating the mechanisms by which BOS is mediated, including alloimmune reactivity, the emerging roles of humoral and autoimmunity, activation of innate immune cells, and response to nonimmune-related allograft insults, such as infection and aspiration. In addition, we underscore emerging clinical implications and promising future translational research directions that have the potential to advance our knowledge and improve patient outcomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmunity
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / etiology*
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / immunology
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / mortality
  • Bronchiolitis Obliterans / surgery
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Lung Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Lung Transplantation / immunology
  • Risk Factors