The role of interleukin-1 beta as a predictive biomarker and potential therapeutic target during clinical ex vivo Lung perfusion

Background

Extended criteria donor lungs deemed unsuitable for immediate transplantation can be reconditioned using ex vivo lung perfusion (EVLP). Objective identification of which donor lungs can be successfully reconditioned and will function well post-operatively has not been established. This study assessed the predictive value of markers of inflammation and tissue injury in donor lungs undergoing EVLP as part of the DEVELOP-UK study.

Methods

Longitudinal samples of perfusate, bronchoalveolar lavage, and tissue from 42 human donor lungs undergoing clinical EVLP assessments were analyzed for markers of inflammation and tissue injury. Levels were compared according to EVLP success and post-transplant outcomes. Neutrophil adhesion to human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HPMECs) conditioned with perfusates from EVLP assessments was investigated on a microfluidic platform.

Results

The most effective markers to differentiate between in-hospital survival and non-survival post-transplant were perfusate interleukin (IL)-1β (area under the curve = 1.00, p = 0.002) and tumor necrosis factor-α (area under the curve = 0.95, p = 0.006) after 30 minutes of EVLP. IL-1β levels in perfusate correlated with upregulation of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 in donor lung vasculature (R2 = 0.68, p < 0.001) and to a lesser degree upregulation of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (R2 = 0.30, p = 0.001) and E-selectin (R2 = 0.29, p = 0.001) in conditioned HPMECs and neutrophil adhesion to conditioned HPMECs (R2 = 0.33, p < 0.001). Neutralization of IL-1β in perfusate effectively inhibited neutrophil adhesion to conditioned HPMECs (91% reduction, p = 0.002).

Conclusions

Donor lungs develop a detectable and discriminatory pro-inflammatory signature in perfusate during EVLP. Blocking the IL-1β pathway during EVLP may reduce endothelial activation and subsequent neutrophil adhesion on reperfusion; this requires further investigation in vivo.