Breast implant illness (BII) is a poorly understood disease in which patients develop symptoms typical of autoimmune conditions following breast implantation. There is no known underlying cause, and patients often resort to breast implant removal and capsulectomy to alleviate symptoms. In this issue of the JCI, Khan and colleagues examined 86 breast explants from patients that reported BII symptoms and 55 control explants. The BII group showed a disproportionally high degree of biofilm, which was associated with oxylipin (10-HOME) on the implant surfaces. Injections of 10-HOME in the mammary fat pad of a murine model recapitulated BII symptoms and increased Th1 cell populations. Notably, macrophages in the periprosthetic tissue from BII patients were more likely to exhibit a proinflammatory phenotype, and naive T cells exposed to 10-HOME caused naive macrophages to differentiate to a proinflammatory phenotype. This work provides a pathophysiologic mechanism for a currently understudied and poorly characterized disease.
Tyler M. Bauer, Katherine A. Gallagher