Immunoenzymatic and morphological detection of epithelial cell apoptotic stages in gastrointestinal allografts from multivisceral transplant patients

V. Delacruz, M. Garcia, N. Mittal, S. Nishida, D. Levi, G. Selvaggi, J. Madariaga, D. Weppler, A. Tzakis, P. Ruiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Acute allograft rejection (AR) is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality among patients who undergo multivisceral transplantation. Critical to the assessment of AR is detection of apoptosis in the glandular epithelium of the gastrointestinal allograft. We utilized the TUNEL stain (TdT-mediated biotin 16-dUTP nick-end labeling) to test whether this method improved detection of apoptosis compared to standard slide evaluation. TUNEL and H&E stains were performed on paraffin-embedded tissue sections to estimate the number of apoptotic bodies per 10 high power fields, as determined by independent pathologists in blinded fashion. Both methodologies showed similar numbers and distributions of apoptotic foci present among the epithelial cells. There was a correlation between the number of apoptoses and the grade of rejection (P < .001). This is the first use of the TUNEL stain in gastrointestinal allograft biopsies to our knowledge. The similarity in pattern and sensitivity of TUNEL with standard morphology confirms that biopsy assessment with routine H&E staining allows an accurate appraisal of epithelial cell apoptosis. Therefore, current staining protocols for endoscopically derived mucosal biopsies of gastrointestinal allografts are sufficiently accurate to enumerate the critical feature of epithelial apoptosis as a determinant of the grade of acute rejection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-339
Number of pages2
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Transplantation

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