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Transplantation. 1997 Feb 27;63(4):533-7.

Rapamycin inhibits development of obliterative airway disease in a murine heterotopic airway transplant model.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305-5236, USA.


Obliterative bronchiolitis is the major cause of long-term morbidity and mortality in heart-lung and lung transplant recipients. There is presently no completely effective therapy for the treatment of obliterative bronchiolitis. We have examined the effects of rapamycin (RPM) on the development of obliterative airway disease in murine recipients of heterotopically transplanted allograft tracheas. In this model, an untreated allograft develops almost complete occlusion of the airway lumen with fibroblastic tissue and collagen scar by day 28 after transplantation. RPM administered intraperitoneally at the time of transplantation or even as late as day 14 after transplantation markedly inhibited obliteration of the airway lumen by fibroblastic tissue. Also, RPM significantly inhibited infiltration of the graft by macrophages. In the RPM-treated animals, the airway was reconstituted with an attenuated squamous epithelium rather than a normal pseudostratified epithelium. No adverse side effects were observed with RPM doses up to 12 mg/kg/ day. These findings suggest a potential role for RPM, perhaps in combination with cyclosporine, in preventing and treating obliterative bronchiolitis in heart-lung and lung allograft recipients.

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