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Alcohol Abuse Leads to Airway Disease After Transplant

Animal study finds airway disease results unless lung transplant is a perfect match

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Lung transplants from alcohol-fed rats cause obliterative bronchiolitis unless the transplant is a perfect match, according to study findings published in the Dec. 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Patrick O. Mitchell, Ph.D., and David M. Guidot, M.D., from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, examined whether donor alcohol abuse affected the incidence of obliterative bronchiolitis after lung transplantation. Tracheas from control and alcohol-fed rats were transplanted into rats with various degrees of alloimmune mismatch.

After 21 days, the researchers found that allografts from alcohol-fed rats did not cause airway disease on a pure isogenic background, but did cause airway disease even in cases of minor alloimmune mismatches. Allografts from alcohol-fed rats had increased lumenal collagen content and increased expression of transforming growth factor-beta-1 (TGF-beta-1) and alpha-smooth muscle actin.

"Although alloimmune inflammation is required to initiate airway disease, alcohol primes the allograft for greater TGF-beta-1 expression, myofibroblast transdifferentiation, and fibrosis than by alloimmune inflammation alone," Mitchell and Guidot conclude. "This has serious clinical implications, as many lung donors have underlying alcohol abuse that may prime the allograft recipient for subsequent obliterative bronchiolitis."

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