IL-6 receptor blockade for allograft dysfunction after lung transplantation in a patient with COPA syndrome

Peter Riddell, Sajad Moshkelgosha, Liran Levy, Nina Chang, Prodipto Pal, Kieran Halloran, Phil Halloran, Michael Parkes, Lianne G. Singer, Shaf Keshavjee, Tereza Martinu, Stephen C. Juvet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: COPA syndrome is a genetic disorder of retrograde cis-Golgi vesicle transport that leads to upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines (mainly IL-1β and IL-6) and the development of interstitial lung disease (ILD). The impact of COPA syndrome on post-lung transplant (LTx) outcome is unknown but potentially detrimental. In this case report, we describe progressive allograft dysfunction following LTx for COPA-ILD. Following the failure of standard immunosuppressive approaches, detailed cytokine analysis was performed with the intention of personalising therapy. Methods: Multiplexed cytokine analysis was performed on serum and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid obtained pre- and post-LTx. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PMBCs) obtained pre- and post-LTx were stimulated with PMA, LPS and anti-CD3/CD28 antibodies. Post-LTx endobronchial biopsies underwent microarray-based gene expression analysis. Results were compared to non-COPA LTx recipients and non-LTx healthy controls. Results: Multiplexed cytokine analysis showed rising type I/II IFNs, and IL-6 in BAL post-LTx that decreased following treatment of acute rejection but rebounded with further clinical deterioration. In vitro stimulation of PMBCs suggested that myeloid cells were driving deterioration, through IL-6 signalling pathways. Tocilizumab (IL-6 receptor antibody) administration for 3 months (4 mg kg−1, monthly) effectively suppressed IL-6 levels in BAL. Mucosal gene expression profile following tocilizumab suggested greater similarity to normal. Conclusion: Clinical effectiveness of IL-6 receptor blockade was not observed. However, we identified IL-6 upregulation associated with graft injury, effective IL-6 suppression with tocilizumab and evidence of beneficial effect on molecular transcripts. This mechanistic analysis suggests a role for IL-6 blockade in post-LTx care that should be investigated further.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1243
JournalClinical and Translational Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • COPA syndrome
  • IL-6
  • lung transplantation
  • tocilizumab


Dive into the research topics of 'IL-6 receptor blockade for allograft dysfunction after lung transplantation in a patient with COPA syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this