Since the 1960s, heart and lung transplantation has remained the optimal therapy for patients with end-stage disease, extending and improving quality of life for thousands of individuals annually. Expanding donor organ availability and immunologic compatibility is a priority to help meet the clinical demand for organ transplant. While effective, current immunosuppression is imperfect as it lacks specificity and imposes unintended adverse effects such as opportunistic infections and malignancy that limit the health and longevity of transplant recipients. In this review, we focus on donor macrophages as a new target to achieve allograft tolerance. Donor organ-directed therapies have the potential to improve allograft survival while minimizing patient harm related to global suppression of recipient immune responses. Topics highlighted include the role of ontogenically distinct donor macrophage populations in ischemia–reperfusion injury and rejection, including their interaction with allograft-infiltrating recipient immune cells and potential therapeutic approaches. Ultimately, a better understanding of how donor intrinsic immunity influences allograft acceptance and survival will provide new opportunities to improve the outcomes of transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1235
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • basic (laboratory) research/science
  • heart (allograft) function/dysfunction
  • heart disease: immune/inflammatory
  • heart transplantation/cardiology
  • immunosuppressant
  • immunosuppression/immune modulation
  • lung (allograft) function/dysfunction
  • lung disease: immune/inflammatory
  • translational research/science


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