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Activation of Tissue Remodeling Precedes Obliterative Bronchiolitis in Lung Transplant Recipients

Author(s): Allan M. Ramirez | David R. Nunley | Mauricio Rojas | Jesse Roman

Journal: Biomarker Insights
ISSN 1177-2719

Volume: 3;
Start page: 351;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: tissue remodeling | transforming growth factor-beta | fibronectin | matrix metalloproteinase | lung transplant

Obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) and Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome (BOS) are frequent complications in the lung transplant recipient, and are the leading cause of mortality after transplantation. The mechanisms responsible for OB remain elusive, but inflammatory and tissue remodeling responses are implicated. We hypothesized that alterations in markers of tissue remodeling in BALF of lung transplant recipients could predict development of OB. To test this, we identified 13 lung transplant recipients who developed both BOS and histologic OB (OB group) at median post-operative day (POD) 485 (range 73–2070). Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) was obtained at median POD 387 (range 45–2205), which preceded the onset of OB and BOS by a median of 140 days (range 60–365). As a control, BALF was also obtained from a group of 21 stable recipients without OB (non-OB group) at median POD 335 (range 270–395). BALF was examined for gelatinolytic activity, fibronectin gene transcription, and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) expression. Gelatin zymography of BALF from the OB group showed increased matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) activity over that of the non-OB group (p < 0.005). Similarly, BALF from the OB group induced greater fibronectin expression in fibroblasts com- pared to the non-OB group (p < 0.03). The induction of fibronectin also correlated with the amount of TGF-β1 protein in BALF (r = 0.71) from the OB group. We conclude that activation of tissue remodeling precedes the onset of OB, and analysis of gelatinolytic and/or fibronectin-inducing activity in BALF can serve as an early, pre-clinical marker for OB.

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