Adenovirus pneumonia in lung transplant recipients

Hum Pathol. 1995 Oct;26(10):1073-9. doi: 10.1016/0046-8177(95)90268-6.


Although Adenovirus (ADV) pneumonia has been documented in bone marrow, kidney, and liver transplantation recipients, it has only been sporadically reported in lung transplantation recipients. Among our 308 lung transplantation recipients, we identified four who developed ADV pneumonia. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded biopsy and autopsy specimens on all cases were studied by routine histology, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and by in situ hybridization (ISH) for evidence of ADV, and the results were correlated with the patients' clinical progression. Three of the four patients were children, and all four had a progressive and rapidly fatal course within 45 days posttransplantation. The lungs showed necrotizing bronchocentric pneumonia with tendency to spread diffusely to produce alveolar damage and organizing pneumonia. The occurrence of this rapidly fatal ADV pneumonia mainly affecting the pediatric population, early in the posttransplantation course, suggests that the infection is primary to the recipient with ADV either originating and reactivating in the donor lung or acquired from the upper respiratory tract of the recipient. The characteristic smudgy intranuclear inclusions of ADV, as well as IHC and ISH positivity, were observed in the lungs of all autopsies. Antemortem biopsy demonstration of ADV by inclusion formation, IHC, and ISH was observed in two patients. In another patient, antemortem ADV was shown only by ISH, and the recognition of inclusions was made difficult by coexistent CMV infection. Although IHC and ISH may have the potential for detecting early infection, recognition of the characteristic clinical setting with necrotizing bronchocentric pneumonia and smudgy intranuclear inclusions should alert one to the diagnosis of ADV pneumonia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae Infections / etiology*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / complications
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / surgery
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Lung Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / etiology*
  • Viral Proteins / analysis


  • Viral Proteins