Blood and graft eosinophilia as predictors of rejection in human liver transplantation

P F Foster, H N Sankary, M Hart, M Ashmann, J W Williams
Transplantation 1989, 47 (1): 72-4
This study attempts to define the relationship of blood and graft eosinophilia to acute hepatic allograft rejection. Sixty liver transplant patients were studied for the first 30 days postoperatively, with daily serum bilirubin and liver enzyme levels, white blood cell counts and differential counts, and biweekly core liver biopsies. Graft eosinophilia was established if 7% or greater of the cells infiltrating the portal triads were eosinophils. Blood eosinophilia is an absolute eosinophil count greater than 500 cells/mm3 occurring on any of the 5 days preceding the day of rejection. Acute rejection was diagnosed when 2 days of hepatic allograft dysfunction occurred with histologic evidence of rejection. The 2nd day of dysfunction with appropriate histologic findings was arbitrarily chosen as the day of rejection. Graft eosinophilia predicted rejection with 92% sensitivity and 98% specificity. Blood eosinophilia occurred on the average on the day of rejection and on the 2 preceding days, while graft eosinophilia occurred on the day of rejection and on 1 preceding day. Blood eosinophilia followed by graft eosinophilia specifically occurred in cases of rejection. Blood eosinophilia not followed by graft eosinophilia was not associated with rejection. Following treatment of rejection with high-dose corticosteroids, blood and graft eosinophil counts decreased markedly. In summary: (1) graft eosinophilia is very sensitive and specific for acute hepatic allograft rejection; (2) blood eosinophilia closely precedes and parallels graft eosinophilia specifically during acute hepatic allograft rejection; and (3) elevated blood and graft eosinophil counts are markedly reduced following treatment of rejection with high-dose corticosteroids.

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