Endoscopic manifestation of intestinal transplant-associated microangiopathy after stem cell transplantation

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Background: Endoscopic features of intestinal transplant-associated microangiopathy (iTAM) have not been comprehensively investigated. This study aimed to examine the endoscopic characteristics of patients diagnosed with iTAM. Methods: This retrospective analysis included 14 patients pathologically diagnosed with iTAM after stem cell transplantation for hematolymphoid neoplasms (n = 13) or thalassemia (n = 1). The sex, age at diagnosis, endoscopic features, and prognosis of each patient were assessed. Serological markers for diagnosing transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy were also evaluated. Results: The mean age at the time of iTAM diagnosis was 40.2 years. Patients diagnosed based on the pathognomonic pathological changes of iTAM presented with diverse symptoms at the times of endoscopic examinations, including diarrhea (n = 10), abdominal pain (n = 5), nausea (n = 4), appetite loss (n = 2), bloody stools (n = 2), abdominal discomfort (n = 1), and vomiting (n = 1). At the final follow-up, six patients survived, while eight patients succumbed, with a median time of 100.5 days (range: 52–247) post-diagnosis. Endoscopic manifestations included erythematous mucosa (n = 14), erosions (n = 13), ulcers (n = 9), mucosal edema (n = 9), granular mucosa (n = 9), and villous atrophy (n = 4). Erosions and/or ulcers were primarily observed in the colon (10/14, 71%), followed by the ileum (9/13, 69%), stomach (4/10, 40%), cecum (5/14, 36%), duodenum (3/10, 30%), rectum (4/14, 29%), and esophagus (1/10, 10%). Cytomegalovirus infection (n = 4) and graft-versus-host disease (n = 2) coexisted within the gastrointestinal tract. Patients had de novo prolonged or progressive thrombocytopenia (6/14, 43%), decreased hemoglobin concentration (4/14, 29%), reduced serum haptoglobin level (3/14, 21%), and a sudden and persistent increase in lactate dehydrogenase level (2/14, 14%). Peripheral blood samples from 12 patients were evaluated for schistocytes, with none exceeding 4%. Conclusions: This study provides a comprehensive exploration of the endoscopic characteristics of iTAM. Notably, all patients exhibited erythematous mucosa throughout the gastrointestinal tract, accompanied by prevalent manifestations, such as erosions (93%), ulcers (64%), mucosal edema (64%), granular mucosa (64%), and villous atrophy (29%). Because of the low positivity for serological markers of transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy in patients with iTAM, endoscopic evaluation and biopsy of these lesions are crucial, even in the absence of these serological features.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140
JournalBMC Gastroenterology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Colonoscopy
  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy
  • Graft-versus-host disease
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Intestinal transplant-associated microangiopathy
  • iTAM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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