Bronchiolitis Obliterans Syndrome: Alloimmune-Dependent and -Independent Injury with Aberrant Tissue Remodeling
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Long-term success in lung transplantation continues to be challenged by chronic graft dysfunction, which is manifest as bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). The mechanisms of BOS involve both immune-mediated pathways (rejection, autoimmune-like mechanisms), and alloimmune-independent pathways (infection, aspiration, ischemia, primary graft failure), which lead to a fibroproliferative responses. BOS correlates histologically with obliterative bronchiolitis in terminal bronchioles and evidence of aberrant remodeling in the airway epithelium, vasculature, stroma, and lymphoid system. A potentially important mechanism that supports the progressive and therapy-resistant nature of BOS is a continuous cycle of ongoing injury and aberrant remodeling. Namely, anatomical and functional abnormalities induce and exacerbate immune-mediated and alloimmune-independent pathways through various mechanisms (e.g., epithelial remodeling decreases mucociliary clearance that exacerbates aspiration-related injury). From this viewpoint, we review current therapeutic strategies and revisit the role of transplant surgeons in attenuating the initial transplant-related injuries to prevent the lung grafts from entering the remodeling-injury cycle.
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