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In lung transplant recipients (LTRs), restrictive ventilation disorder may be present due to respiratory muscle dysfunction that may reduce exercise capacity. This might be mediated by pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). We investigated lung respiratory muscle function as well as circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines and exercise capacity in LTRs. Fifteen LTRs (6 female, age 56 ± 14 years, 63 ± 45 months post-transplantation) and 15 healthy controls matched for age, sex, and body mass index underwent spirometry, measurement of mouth occlusion pressures, diaphragm ultrasound, and recording of twitch transdiaphragmatic (twPdi) and gastric pressures (twPgas) following magnetic stimulation of the phrenic nerves and the lower thoracic nerve roots. Exercise capacity was quantified using the 6-min walking distance (6MWD). Plasma IL-6 and TNF-α were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Compared with controls, patients had lower values for forced vital capacity (FVC; 81 ± 30 vs.109 ± 18% predicted, p = 0.01), maximum expiratory pressure (100 ± 21 vs.127 ± 17 cm H2O, p = 0.04), diaphragm thickening ratio (2.2 ± 0.4 vs. 3.0 ± 1.1, p = 0.01), and twPdi (10.4 ± 3.5 vs. 17.6 ± 6.7 cm H2O, p = 0.01). In LTRs, elevation of TNF-α was related to lung function (13 ± 3 vs. 11 ± 2 pg/mL in patients with FVC ≤80 vs. >80% predicted; p < 0.05), and lung function (forced expiratory volume after 1 s) was closely associated with diaphragm thickening ratio (r = 0.81; p < 0.01) and 6MWD (r = 0.63; p = 0.02). There is marked restrictive ventilation disorder and respiratory muscle weakness in LTRs, especially inspiratory muscle weakness with diaphragm dysfunction. Lung function impairment relates to elevated levels of circulating TNF-α and diaphragm dysfunction and is associated with exercise intolerance. © 2020 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Jens Spiesshoefer, Carolin Henke, Hans Joachim Kabitz, Jerzy Roch Nofer, Michael Mohr, Georg Evers, Jan-Kolia Strecker, Tobias Brix, Winfried Johannes Randerath, Simon Herkenrath, Lars Henning Schmidt, Matthias Boentert. Respiratory Muscle and Lung Function in Lung Allograft Recipients: Association with Exercise Intolerance. Respiration; international review of thoracic diseases. 2020;99(5):398-408

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PMID: 32403109

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