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This study evaluates the predictive value of the blood eosinophil count in the diagnosis of acute cellular rejection, its value as a marker of response to treatment, the diagnostic use in a subgroup of patients with normal transaminases and compares blood eosinophilia in patients with and without hepatitis C virus infection. A consecutive cohort of 101 liver transplant patients, 275 liver biopsies, and blood eosinophils recorded on the day or one day before biopsy were analyzed. An elevated eosinophil count has a positive predictive value for acute cellular rejection of 82%. A normal eosinophil count excludes moderate/severe rejection with a predictive value of 86%. The eosinophil count decreases in 69% of patients following treatment of acute cellular rejection with corticosteroids irrespective of treatment outcome. Acute cellular rejection in the presence of an elevated eosinophil count occurs significantly less often (p = 0.007) in patients with hepatitis C virus. An elevated eosinophil count is a valuable marker of acute cellular rejection. However, blood eosinophil levels should not be used to predict acute cellular rejection following treatment with corticosteroids. Blood eosinophilia, seen less often in patients with hepatitis C virus, may reflect an over-diagnosis of acute cellular rejection in these patients.

Original publication




Journal article


American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons

Publication Date





432 - 438


Liver Transplant Unit, Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London, UK.


Humans, Hepatitis C, Eosinophilia, Alanine Transaminase, Aspartate Aminotransferases, Biopsy, Treatment Outcome, Liver Transplantation, Cohort Studies, Graft Rejection, Adult, Middle Aged, Female, Male