Aim: The prevalence of monogenic disease-causing gene variants in lung transplant recipients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is not fully known. Their impact on clinical outcomes before and after transplantation requires more evidence.
Patients and methods: We retrospectively performed sequence analysis of genes associated with pulmonary fibrosis in a cohort of 23 patients with histologically confirmed usual interstitial pneumonia that had previously undergone double lung transplantation. We evaluated the impact of confirmed molecular diagnoses on disease progression, clinical outcomes and incidence of acute rejection or chronic lung allograft dysfunction after transplantation.
Results: 15 patients out of 23 (65%) had a variant in a gene associated with interstitial lung disease. 11 patients (48%) received a molecular diagnosis, of which nine involved genes for telomerase function. Five diagnostic variants were found in the gene for Telomerase reverse transcriptase. Two of these variants, p.(Asp684Gly) and p.(Arg774*), seemed to be enriched in Finnish lung transplant recipients. Disease progression and the incidence of acute rejection and chronic lung allograft dysfunction was similar between patients with telomere-related disease and the rest of the study population. The incidence of renal or bone marrow insufficiency or skin malignancies did not differ between the groups.
Conclusion: Genetic variants are common in lung transplant recipients with pulmonary fibrosis and are most often related to telomerase function. A molecular diagnosis for telomeropathy does not seem to impact disease progression or the risk of complications or allograft dysfunction after transplantation.
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