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Transfusion-related acute lung injury: an update.

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Division of Transfusion Medicine, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, USA.


Transfusion-associated acute lung injury (TRALI) has emerged as a leading cause of transfusion-related morbidity and mortality. TRALI is characterized by acute non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema and respiratory compromise in the setting of transfusion. The study of TRALI has been hampered by inadequate case definitions and an incomplete understanding of the pathologic mechanisms. Recent consensus conferences took an important first step by providing a framework for case definition. Recent advances in the understanding of the pathogenesis of TRALI have also occurred. TRALI has been primarily attributed to donor leukocyte antibodies that are thought to interact with recipient neutrophils, resulting in activation and aggregation in pulmonary capillaries, release of local biologic response modifiers causing capillary leak, and lung injury. An alternate mechanism termed the "two hit" or "neutrophil priming" hypothesis postulates that a pathway to neutrophil activation and aggregation can occur without leukocyte antibodies. A first event such as sepsis or trauma can induce pulmonary endothelial activation, release of cytokines, and priming of neutrophils. A subsequent second event such as exposure to lipids, cytokines or antibodies in a blood component would then cause activation of adherent neutrophils and a release of bioreactive molecules leading to lung injury. There are limited clinical and animal studies to support the "two hit" model. These proposed mechanisms are not mutually exclusive in that donor leukocyte antibody can be pathogenic in both models and have implications for new strategies to prevent TRALI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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