Although chronic lung allograft dysfunction (CLAD) remains the major life-limiting factor following lung transplantation, much of its pathophysiology remains unknown. The discovery that CLAD can manifest both clinically and morphologically in vastly different ways led to the definition of distinct subtypes of CLAD. In this review, recent advances in our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of the different phenotypes of CLAD will be discussed with a particular focus on tissue-based and molecular studies. An overview of the current knowledge on the mechanisms of the airway-centered bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, as well as the airway and alveolar injuries in the restrictive allograft syndrome and also the vascular compartment in chronic antibody-mediated rejection is provided. Specific attention is also given to morphological and molecular markers for early CLAD diagnosis or histological changes associated with subsequent CLAD development. Evidence for a possible overlap between different forms of CLAD is presented and discussed. In the end, “tissue remains the (main) issue,” as we are still limited in our knowledge about the actual triggers and specific mechanisms of all late forms of posttransplant graft failure, a shortcoming that needs to be addressed in order to further improve the outcome of lung transplant recipients.

biopsy, bronchiolitis obliterans (BOS), lung (allograft) function/dysfunction, lung transplantation/pulmonology, pathology/histopathology, rejection: antibody-mediated (ABMR), rejection: chronic, translational research/science,
American Journal of Transplantation
Department of Pathology

Verleden, S.E, von der Thusen, J.H, Roux, A. (Antoine), Brouwers, E.S. (Emily S.), Braubach, P. (Peter), Kuehnel, M. (Mark), … Jonigk, D. (Danny). (2020). When tissue is the issue: A histological review of chronic lung allograft dysfunction. American Journal of Transplantation. doi:10.1111/ajt.15864