JOURNAL OF CUTANEOUS PATHOLOGY, vol.48, no.10, pp.1286-1297, 2021 (SCI-Expanded)
The features of chronic rejection (CR) in full-face vascularized composite allotransplantation (VCA) are not well-known. Herein, we report a full-face transplant patient that experienced two episodes of acute rejection (AR) and three episodes of AR/CR over the course of 6-years. The patient noticed a small, round patch of hair loss in his beard 9 months after the second AR episode, which occurred 21 months post-transplantation. Biopsy of the alopecic patch showed lichen-planopilaris-like features, which was suggestive of early CR. Despite an increase in immunosuppressive dosages, the alopecia progressed. Following the second and third AR/CR episodes, the alopecia became more pronounced, with the addition of hyperpigmentation as well as sclerosis and telangiectasia. The findings of multiple biopsies showed CR. Based on these findings we think that alopecia with lichen-planopilaris-like histopathological features similar to grade III AR features, particularly in hair follicles appears to be an early finding of CR in the presented patient. The findings further indicate that follicular involvement may be a significant feature of CR in VCA patients and that it can present prior to sclerosis, vasculopathy, or loss of adnexa. The present case is uniquely important because of the distinctive presentation of CR, with hair follicles clinically and histopathologically affected, leading to progressive and irreversible alopecia with lichen-planopilaris-like histopathology.