The development of chronic allograft rejection is based on the hypothesis that cumulative, time-dependent tissue injury eventually leads to a fibrotic response. In this issue of the JCI, Babu and colleagues found that alloimmune-mediated microvascular loss precedes tissue damage in murine orthotopic tracheal allografts (see the related article beginning on page 3774). The concept that injury to the endothelium may precede airway fibrosis suggests that interventions to maintain vascular integrity may be important, especially in the case of lung transplantation. Further, for all solid organ allografts, it is possible that the key to long-term allograft survival is physiological vascular repair at early times following transplantation.
Alan G. Contreras, David M. Briscoe