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Transplantation. 2001 Aug 15;72(3):527-8.

Evans' syndrome complicating chronic graft versus host disease after cadaveric liver transplantation.

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Department of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong.


Acute graft versus host disease (GVHD) occurred in a patient after cadaveric liver transplantation from an HLA disparate donor. Immunosuppression resulted in a remission, but chronic GVHD with a scleroderma-like syndrome ensued. This was further complicated by immune hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia (Evan's syndrome). Semi-quantitative microsatellite analysis of circulating lymphoid cells showed that T cells were predominantly of donor origin, thereby explaining the chronic GVHD. The marrow hematopoietic cells remained recipient, so that the immune cytopenias were expected to be alloimmune in nature. However, the red cell antibodies were shown to have anti-C and anti-e specificity, with both the donor (R1R1) and recipient (R1r) possessing the C and e antigens. Therefore, the immune hemolysis might be considered both alloimmune and autoimmune. The patient finally died of sepsis. This case illustrates that chronic GVHD due to stable donor T cell engraftment may rarely occur in liver transplantation despite HLA disparity. Immunosuppression may result in dysregulation of T cell functions, leading to alloimmune and autoimmune problems.

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