Neutrophil activation--an important cause of tissue damage during liver allograft rejection?

D H Adams, L F Wang, D Burnett, R A Stockley, J M Neuberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Although neutrophils have been implicated as mediators of tissue damage in a variety of conditions, their role in graft rejection has not previously been studied. Peripheral neutrophil activation was assessed sequentially in 16 patients following liver transplantation by measuring the ability of neutrophils to respond to the chemotactic peptide FMLP, to release superoxide radicals, and to cause extracellular proteolysis. All three functions increased 1-2 days before episodes of acute rejection and only returned to normal after treatment with high-dose corticosteroids. Three patients who did not develop rejection showed no increase in neutrophil function. Lymphocytes isolated from patients with acute rejection produced factors that were both chemotactic for and capable of activating normal neutrophils. This study shows that neutrophil activation occurs during acute liver allograft rejection, possibly in response to lymphokine secretion, and suggests an important, and hitherto unrecognized, mechanism of graft damage during rejection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-91
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1990


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chemotactic Factors
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophils
  • Superoxides
  • Transplantation, Homologous


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