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Transplantation. 2001 Jun 15;71(11):1566-72.

Are parenchymal changes in early post-transplant biopsies related to preservation-reperfusion injury or rejection?

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Medical School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK.



The progression of parenchymal changes in liver allograft biopsies due to preservation-reperfusion injury (PRI) and their differentiation from rejection related changes is poorly understood. The aim of this study was to determine which changes in a 1-week posttransplant biopsy could be attributed to PRI and which to acute rejection.


One week protocol liver transplant biopsies from patients with mild PRI (day 1 AST<400 IU/L) were compared with those from patients with severe PRI (day 1 AST>2000 IU/L). Parenchymal changes (cholestasis, ballooning, steatosis, necrosis) and rejection-related inflammatory features (portal tract inflammation, bile duct inflammation, portal vein endothelial inflammation, hepatic vein endothelial inflammation, and centrilobular inflammation) were blindly assessed semiquantitatively.


Fat, cholestasis, and hepatocyte ballooning were significantly worse in the severe PRI group, and these features showed no correlation with histological features related to acute rejection. Centrilobular hepatocyte necrosis correlated with hepatic venular endothelial inflammation and centrilobular inflammation but not with rejection related features in portal tracts or with PRI. These findings suggest that centrilobular necrosis is a manifestation of a rejection-related parenchymal injury and may involve different pathogenetic mechanisms to rejection-related features in portal tracts.


This study indicates that in early posttransplant biopsies, fat, cholestasis, and ballooning can largely be attributed to PRI. By contrast, centrilobular hepatocyte loss should be suspected as a rejection related phenomenon, even if typical portal tract changes are not prominent, and augmentation of immunosuppression should be considered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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