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Am J Transplant. 2017 Jun;17(6):1637-1648. doi: 10.1111/ajt.14148. Epub 2017 Jan 24.

Association of Higher CD4+ CD25high CD127low , FoxP3+ , and IL-2+ T Cell Frequencies Early After Lung Transplantation With Less Chronic Lung Allograft Dysfunction at Two Years.

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Department of Cardiothoracic, Transplant and Vascular Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.
Department of Surgery, Munich Lung Transplant Group, Ludwig-Maximilian's University, Munich, Germany.
Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


Regulatory T cells (Treg) can regulate alloantigens and may counteract chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD) in lung transplantation. We analyzed Treg in peripheral blood prospectively and correlated percentages of subpopulations with the incidence of CLAD at 2 years. Among lung-transplanted patients between January 2009 and July 2011, only patients with sufficient Treg measurements were included into the study. Tregs were measured immediately before lung transplantation, at 3 weeks and 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after transplantation and were defined as CD4+ CD25high T cells and further analyzed for CTLA4, CD127, FoxP3, and IL-2 expressions. Between January 2009 and July 2011, 264 patients were transplanted at our institution. Among the 138 (52%) patients included into the study, 31 (22%) developed CLAD within 2 years after transplantation. As soon as 3 weeks after lung transplantation, a statistically significant positive association was detected between Treg frequencies and later absence of CLAD. At the multivariate analysis, increasing frequencies of CD4+ CD25high CD127low , CD4+ CD25high FoxP3+ and CD4+ CD25high IL-2+ T cells at 3 weeks after lung transplantation emerged as protective factors against development of CLAD at 2 years. In conclusion, higher frequencies of specific Treg subpopulations early after lung transplantation are protective against CLAD development.


T cell biology; clinical research/practice; lung (allograft) function/dysfunction; lung transplantation/pulmonology

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