Leukoagglutinins are implicated in transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI). In the present study, severe lung vascular leakage was reproduced by application of a leukoagglutinating antibody of anti-5b specificity in an ex vivo lung model. The antibody originated from a multiparous donor-plasma, observed to cause noncardiogenic edema during transfusion therapy. Heated full plasma (anti-5b-titer 1/128) or purified immunoglobulin G fraction was used for the studies. Ex vivo isolated rabbit lungs were perfused with albumin buffer, and human granulocytes (PMN) were admixed to the recirculating perfusate. In presence of anti-5b antibody plus 5b-positive PMN plus rabbit plasma as complement-source, severe lung edema occurred after a latent period of 3 to 6 hours. Pulmonary artery pressure was only transiently and moderately increased, and the leakage reaction could be traced back to a several-fold increase in lung vascular permeability. In contrast, no vascular leakage was noted in lungs perfused in the absence of anti-5b antibody, PMN, or rabbit plasma. Moreover, no permeability increase occurred on use of 5b-negative PMN. This reproduction of TRALI in an ex vivo lung model corroborates the role of leukoagglutinating antibodies in initiating PMN-dependent respiratory distress and suggests a contribution of concomitant complement activation.

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