Serum levels of surfactant protein D (SP-D) have been suggested as reflecting epithelial damage in acute lung injury, COPD, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). However, little is known about SP-D levels in the setting of lung transplantation.
We examined plasma SP-D levels in 104 subjects from a prospective, multicenter cohort study of lung allograft recipients. Plasma SP-D was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay prior to transplant and daily for 3 days after transplant.
Subjects undergoing transplant for IPF had higher baseline SP-D levels (median, 325 ng/mL) compared with subjects with cystic fibrosis, COPD, and pulmonary hypertension (median, 100, 80, and 82 ng/mL, respectively; P = .0001). Among subjects with IPF undergoing bilateral transplant, SP-D levels declined rapidly postoperatively. In contrast, SP-D levels in subjects undergoing single lung transplant for IPF remained significantly higher than those of bilateral allograft recipients. Among subjects undergoing single lung transplant for IPF, the development of primary graft dysfunction (PGD) was associated with a subsequent rise in SP-D levels, whereas SP-D levels in IPF subjects undergoing bilateral transplant declined, even in the presence of grade 3 PGD. Importantly, single lung allograft recipients without PGD had higher postoperative SP-D levels than bilateral allograft recipients with PGD.
Subjects undergoing lung transplant for IPF have significantly higher baseline plasma SP-D levels compared with those with other diagnoses. Plasma SP-D is likely a biomarker of the air-blood barrier integrity in the native IPF lung, but may be less useful as a biomarker of PGD after transplant.