Male to Female Corneal Transplants May Have Greater Rejection Risk

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New study suggests incompatibility with the Y chromosome, poor outcomes
New study suggests incompatibility with the Y chromosome, poor outcomes

HealthDay News — Women who undergo a corneal transplant may have a worse outcome if their donor is male, according to a study published online July 14 in the American Journal of Transplantation.

The study involved 18,171 corneal transplant patients. More than 80% still had a working cornea after 5 years. Of those who had a failed transplant or tissue rejection, more were women who had received a cornea from a male donor.

On average, 180 transplants fail for every 1,000 gender-matched procedures, compared with 220 failures among every 1,000 male-to-female transplants, according to the researchers. They said these results were especially evident among patients with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy.

The findings are most likely associated with the male Y chromosome, study leader Stephen Kaye, MD, an ophthalmologist at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital in the United Kingdom, said in a journal news release. The authors said more research is needed to confirm their findings and to potentially justify allocating corneas from male donors only to other men. Corneas from female donors may be given to either men or women. "If confirmed, this would be relatively straightforward to put into place without delay in donor tissue allocation to patients or any significant added cost," Kaye said. "The long-term impact this could have on patient care may be substantial."

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