Smoking exposure-induced bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue in donor lungs does not prevent tolerance induction after transplantation

Am J Transplant. 2024 Feb;24(2):280-292. doi: 10.1016/j.ajt.2023.08.010. Epub 2023 Aug 23.


The presence of bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) in donor lungs has been suggested to accelerate graft rejection after lung transplantation. Although chronic smoke exposure can induce BALT formation, the impact of donor cigarette use on alloimmune responses after lung transplantation is not well understood. Here, we show that smoking-induced BALT in mouse donor lungs contains Foxp3+ T cells and undergoes dynamic restructuring after transplantation, including recruitment of recipient-derived leukocytes to areas of pre-existing lymphoid follicles and replacement of graft-resident donor cells. Our findings from mouse and human lung transplant data support the notion that a donor's smoking history does not predispose to acute cellular rejection or prevent the establishment of allograft acceptance with comparable outcomes to nonsmoking donors. Thus, our work indicates that BALT in donor lungs is plastic in nature and may have important implications for modulating proinflammatory or tolerogenic immune responses following transplantation.

Keywords: donor smoking; graft rejection; lung transplantation; tertiary lymphoid organs.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchi
  • Graft Rejection / etiology
  • Graft Rejection / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Lung
  • Lung Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Lymphoid Tissue*
  • Mice
  • Smoking