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Am J Transplant. 2011 Oct;11(10):2190-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03663.x. Epub 2011 Jul 27.

Cytomegalovirus replication within the lung allograft is associated with bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome.

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Department of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Alfred Hospital Melbourne Vic 3181, Australia ANZIC-RC.


Early studies reported cytomegalovirus (CMV) pneumonitis as a risk factor for development of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS) following lung transplantation. While improvements in antiviral prophylaxis have resulted in a decreased incidence of CMV pneumonitis, molecular diagnostic techniques allow diagnosis of subclinical CMV replication in the allograft. We hypothesized that this subclinical CMV replication was associated with development of BOS. We retrospectively evaluated 192 lung transplant recipients (LTR) from a single center between 2001 and 2009. Quantitative (PCR) analysis of CMV viral load and histological evidence of CMV pneumonitis and acute cellular rejection was determined on 1749 bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) specimens and 1536 transbronchial biopsies. CMV was detected in the BAL of 41% of LTR and was significantly associated with the development of BOS (HR 1.8 [1.1-2.8], p = 0.02). This association persisted when CMV was considered more accurately as a time-dependent variable (HR 2.1 [1.3-3.3], p = 0.003) and after adjustment for significant covariates in a multivariate model. CMV replication in the lung allograft is common following lung transplantation and is associated with increased risk of BOS. As antiviral prophylaxis adequately suppresses CMV longer prophylactic strategies may improve long-term outcome in lung transplantation.

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