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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 13;8(11):e80601. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080601. eCollection 2013.

Increased numbers of circulating CD8 effector memory T cells before transplantation enhance the risk of acute rejection in lung transplant recipients.

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Immunology Service. Marqués de Valdecilla Hospital, Santander, Spain.


The effector and regulatory T cell subpopulations involved in the development of acute rejection episodes in lung transplantation remain to be elucidated. Twenty-seven lung transplant candidates were prospectively monitored before transplantation and within the first year post-transplantation. Regulatory, Th17, memory and naïve T cells were measured in peripheral blood of lung transplant recipients by flow cytometry. No association of acute rejection with number of peripheral regulatory T cells and Th17 cells was found. However, effector memory subsets in acute rejection patients were increased during the first two months post-transplant. Interestingly, patients waiting for lung transplant with levels of CD8(+) effector memory T cells over 185 cells/mm(3) had a significant increased risk of rejection [OR: 5.62 (95% CI: 1.08-29.37), p=0.04]. In multivariate analysis adjusted for age and gender the odds ratio for rejection was: OR: 5.89 (95% CI: 1.08-32.24), p=0.04. These data suggest a correlation between acute rejection and effector memory T cells in lung transplant recipients. The measurement of peripheral blood CD8(+) effector memory T cells prior to lung transplant may define patients at high risk of acute lung rejection.

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