Renal pathology at autopsy in patients who died after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Acute and chronic renal dysfunction are common after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Although the pathology of chronic HSCT nephropathy is well described, the histologic changes that accompany acute renal dysfunction after HSCT are less well known because renal biopsies are rarely undertaken in the peritransplantation period. Archival renal tissue from consecutive HSCT recipients who died and underwent autopsy at a single center during an 8-year period was studied. Abnormalities of renal pathology were described, and associations of histologic abnormalities with clinical events were systemically studied. Abnormalities of renal histology were common among the 26 patients in this study. The 3 most common histologic abnormalities were glomerular sclerosis (19/26; 73%), tubular epithelial atypia (19/26; 73%), and tubular calcification (18/26; 69%). Tubulitis (16/24; 67%) and interstitial fibrosis (16/26; 62%) were also frequently observed. Clinical veno-occlusive disease was not associated with histologic evidence of thrombotic microangiopathy in the kidney at autopsy. Also, clinical graft-versus-host disease was not associated with renal tubulitis. Unexpectedly, the proportion of patients with tubular atrophy (54%) or interstitial fibrosis (62%) was high, considering the young age of the patients at transplantation and their normal pretransplantation creatinine clearance. Well-recognized histologic abnormalities are common in the kidneys of patients who die after HSCT. Although we did not demonstrate associations of these histologic changes with clinical variables before death, larger studies with prospectively collected renal tissue are warranted.


  • El-Seisi, Somaya
  • Gupta, Rekha
  • Clase, Catherine
  • Forrest, Donna L
  • Milandinovic, Mirko
  • Couban, Stephen

publication date

  • November 2003