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Airway cellular response to two different immunosuppressive regimens in lung transplant recipients



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Erratum Volume 21, Issue 2, 294, Article first published online: 7 March 2007

Dirk-Jan Slebos MD PhD, Department of Pulmonary Diseases and Lung Transplantation, University Hospital Groningen, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands.
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Abstract:  A number of new immunosuppressive drugs have become available in transplant medicine. We investigated the effects of two different immunosuppressive protocols on bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cellular characteristics in 34 lung transplant recipients who were treated with anti-thymocyte globulin induction therapy, cyclosporine, azathioprine (AZA), and prednisolone (regimen I), compared with 17 recipients receiving basiliximab induction, tacrolimus, AZA, and prednisolone (regimen II). We performed bronchoalveolar lavages between 15 and 40 d post-transplantation, in stable clinical condition and no acute rejection, cytomegalovirus, and/or respiratory tract infection. The regimen II treatment was associated with a significantly lower percentage lavage fluid lymphocytes than with regimen I. The CD4/CD8 ratio was significantly higher with regimen II than with regimen I: 1.56 (range 0.41–2.16) and 0.33 (0.04–0.95) respectively; p < 0.001, mainly because of a lower percentage CD8+ cells with regimen II: 25% (12–51) vs. regimen I: 60% (34–77); p < 0.001. The percentage CD4+ CD25+ cells appeared lower with regimen II: 21% (10–88) vs. regimen I: 50% (0–87); p = 0.04. Overall survival was similar between the groups, whereas a beneficial trend in freedom of bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome was observed with regimen II. Airway lymphocyte subtypes are affected by the immunosuppressive protocol used. This observation should be taken into account when studying transplant recipients, and may contribute to our understanding of alloreactive airway disease.