Scientific publications

The neuropathology of intestinal failure and small bowel transplantation

May 1, 1999 | Magazine: Acta Neuropathologica

Idoate MA, Martinez AJ, Bueno J, Abu-Elmagd K, Reyes J.

The aim of this study was to elucidate the neuropathological substrate of intestinal failure before and after small bowel transplantation (SBT). Retrospective analysis of complete autopsy or brain biopsy specimens of 17 patients with intestinal failure (12 children and 5 adults) were studied.

Patients were divided into two groups. Group I (transplanted group; n = 13) included those patients who underwent intestinal transplantation under tacrolimus and steroids immunosuppressive therapy. Group II (control group) included 4 children with intestinal failure who were candidates for SBT and died while awaiting an intestinal allograft. Central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities were seen in 92% of the SBT recipients and in 100% of SBT candidates. The neuropathological lesions of SBT recipients included: (a) vascular lesions: global brain ischemia, infarcts, intracranial hemorrhage and edema (7 children/2 adults; 69%); (b) cerebral atrophy (6 children; 46%); (c) Alzheimer type II gliosis (5 children/4 adults; 69%); (d) infection (3 patients; 23%) due to cytomegalovirus (1 child), Aspergillus fumigatus (1 adult) and progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)-like (1 adult); (e) Epstein-Barr virus-related cerebral post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (2 children; 15%); and (f) central pontine and extrapontine myelinolysis (1 child; 7.5%).

The neuropathological lesions of SBT candidates were Alzheimer type II astrocytosis (4 patients), vascular changes (4 patients), brain atrophy (4 patients) and cerebral candidiasis (1 patient). CNS vascular, metabolic and infectious pathology are significant causes of morbidity and mortality in patients suffering intestinal failure, both before and after SBT.

Brain atrophy was a frequent finding and may be related to nutritional and developmental inadequacy of long-term total parenteral nutrition.

CITATION  Acta Neuropathol. 1999 May;97(5):502-8