Idiopathic pneumonia syndrome in mice after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation

Academic Article


  • Pulmonary complications are a major clinical problem following allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT), contributing to more than 30% of transplant-related mortalities. Idiopathic pneumonia syndrome is responsible for significant mortality among BMT patients. However, the etiology of injury to the lung parenchyma by this disease syndrome is unknown and it has been difficult to evaluate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying IPS in the absence of a suitable animal model. To study post-BMT lung disease during graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), we have developed a murine model that utilizes a semi-allogeneic parental → F1 transplant strategy to induce a mild form of GVHD. Progressive inflammatory lung disease developed in animals with mild GVHD, as indicated by changes in immune cell distribution and cytokine expression in the lungs of transplanted animals. Histologic analysis of lung tissue from GVHD mice at 3 wk post-BMT showed minor immunopathologic changes compared with control mice. In contrast, lungs of GVHD mice at 12 wk displayed histopathologic hallmarks of interstitial pneumonitis, such as prominent perilumenal mononuclear cell infiltration and areas of alveolar congestion. Flow cytometric analysis of lung interstitial cells of GVHD mice revealed an increase in CD8+ T-cells at week 3, which decreased to normal levels by week 12 post-BMT. Simultaneously, the percentage of CD4+ T-cells increased progressively above normal levels and peaked at week 7 post-BMT. Analysis of cytokine mRNA expression in lung tissue indicated that steady state levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interferon-γ, and IL-12 were significantly elevated in lungs of GVHD mice at 3 wk post-BMT compared with untreated controls. Mice that were transplanted with allogeneic bone marrow alone (BMT controls) also displayed elevated expression of these cytokines, although only IL-6 was significantly higher than in untreated controls. In contrast, at 12 wk after transplantation only TNF-α and IL-12 levels remained elevated in GVHD mice, suggesting prolonged macrophage activation. On the basis of these findings, we conclude that allogeneic bone marrow transplantation in this mouse model causes a progressive interstitial pneumonitis, which is characterized by an acute influx of CD8+ T-cells, followed in the chronic phase by a prominent accumulation of CD4+ T-cells, and is associated with persistent production of cytokines known to activate macrophages.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Shankar G; Bryson JS; Jennings CD; Morris PE; Cohen DA
  • Start Page

  • 235
  • End Page

  • 242
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 2