Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2013 Mar;32(3):326-32.
doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2012.11.018. Epub 2013 Jan 10.

Pathologic Findings in Lung Allografts With anti-HLA Antibodies

Free PMC article

Pathologic Findings in Lung Allografts With anti-HLA Antibodies

Matthew M DeNicola et al. J Heart Lung Transplant. .
Free PMC article


Background: Despite data indicating a positive correlation between donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies (DSAs) and early development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) in lung allografts, the role of an antibody-mediated process in acute and chronic lung allograft rejection has not been elucidated. In this study we evaluated pathologic features of transplant lung biopsies in patients with and without DSAs.

Methods: Forty-one lung transplant biopsies from 41 patients at our institution were included in our study. The biopsy H&E slides were reviewed in a blinded fashion, and scored for presence of microvascular inflammation, acute rejection, bronchiolar inflammation and acute lung injury, as well as diffuse alveolar damage (DAD). Microvascular inflammation was graded by the presence of capillary neutrophils on a scale of 0 to 4(+). For immunohistochemical analysis, the pattern and intensity of staining for C4d and C3d deposition were evaluated in airways and alveolar capillaries.

Results: Histopathology suspicious for antibody-mediated rejection (AMR)-defined as≥2(+) neutrophilic infiltration and/or DAD-were more common in DSA-positive cases than controls (11 of 16 vs 6 of 25, p<0.01). Evidence of allograft dysfunction was significantly more common among patients with both DSA and suspicious histopathology compared with controls (5 of 10 vs 3 of 25, p = 0.03). The combination of DSAs and histopathology suspicious for AMR was associated with both BOS (p = 0.002) and mortality (p = 0.03). Immunohistochemistry for C3d and C4d showed no correlation with each other, DSAs or histopathology.

Conclusions: Grade 2(+) neutrophilic infiltration is the histopathologic finding most closely related to DSAs with graft dysfunction and development of BOS in lung transplant recipients and may be a marker for AMR.

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure statement: The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.


Figure 1
Figure 1
(A) Capillary neutrophilia of 2+. Neutrophils (arrows) and back-to-back neutrophils (double arrows) are shown (H&E stain; original magnification 400×). (B) Specific alveolar capillary complement deposition (C4d immunoperoxidase stain; original magnification 400×).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Cox hazard model of graft deterioration in the setting of histopathology suspicious for AMR and DSAs. (A–C) BOS analyses. (D–F) Survival analyses.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 21 articles

See all "Cited by" articles