Restrictive allograft syndrome post lung transplantation is characterized by pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis
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We previously described restrictive allograft syndrome as a form of chronic lung allograft dysfunction, demonstrating restrictive pulmonary function decline. However, the histopathological correlates of restrictive allograft syndrome have yet to be satisfactorily described. We hypothesized that pulmonary pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis, as has recently been described in bone marrow transplant recipients, may also be present in the lungs of patients with restrictive allograft syndrome. Retrospective review of 493 patients who underwent lung transplantation between 1 January 1996 and 30 June 2009, was conducted. Out of 47 patients with clinical features of restrictive allograft syndrome, 16 had wedge biopsy, re-transplant lung explant, or autopsy lung specimens available for review. All lungs showed varying degrees of pleural fibrosis. Fifteen of 16 showed parenchymal fibroelastosis, characterized by hypocellular collagen deposition with preservation and thickening of the underlying alveolar septal elastic network. The fibroelastosis was predominantly subpleural in distribution, with some cases also showing centrilobular and paraseptal distribution. A sharp demarcation was often seen between areas of fibroelastosis and unaffected lung parenchyma, with fibroblastic foci often present at this interface. Concurrent features of obliterative bronchiolitis were present in 14 cases. Another common finding was the presence of diffuse alveolar damage (13 cases), usually in specimens obtained <1 year after clinical onset of restrictive allograft syndrome. The single specimen in which fibroelastosis was not identified was obtained before the clinical onset of chronic lung allograft dysfunction, and showed features of diffuse alveolar damage. In conclusion, pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis is a major histopathologic correlate of restrictive allograft syndrome, and was often found concurrently with diffuse alveolar damage. Our findings support a temporal sequence of diffuse alveolar damage followed by the development of pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis in the histopathologic evolution of restrictive allograft syndrome.
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