So its about 1:30 am, and I am pulling my first all nighter in actually quite a while. Had to be in Jacksonville ALL DAY for orientation, and my ARNP pathophysiology midterm is in about….6.5 hrs. So in order to elicit a little more motivation on the part of studying the process of disease right now, I will tell you my very illustrated version of Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) which I would like to attribute to my little brother Dominick for his vivid imagination in war and fighting and stuff. Here we go!
(I apologize in advance if you don’t know what GVHD is. In a nutshell, it is basically a complication of like a bone marrow transplant for example, where instead of the body attacking the foreign invader, as what sometimes happens in other kinds of organ transplants, the donor tissues actually attack the host. Here is why…)
It makes sense to consider WHY the donor T-cells attack the host, and why this complication can be more serious than other kinds of graft rejection. When you think about the irradiation or chemotherapy procedure the recipient must have prior to the transplant, all forms of defense have been virtually abolished from the body, leaving the host vulnerable to a wide variety of immune insults, only to be bombarded by the defending immune cells of the donor. After the transplant, healthy, active donor immune cells are introduced to the host’s weak, susceptible body. With no cellular line of defense available to combat the attacks of the donor immune cells, the donor invaders wreck havoc in the body before they ultimately conquer the fallen immune system of the recipient. Its easy to imagine the kinds of damage and tissue injury the recipient must endure after a violent battle of strong versus weak immunity in GVHD. As the body makes attempts at regenerating its normal cellular functioning, a multitude of harsh symptoms and manifestations may be experienced in the process:
-Skin rash, loss or increase in pigmentation, and/or acanthosis (thickening of the skin).
-Liver damage in the bile duct and hepatomegaly.
-Oral ulcers, dry mouth, infections.
-Red, burning eye irritation.