Biological aging is the accumulation of cellular and molecular damage within an individual over time. The biological age of a donor organ is known to influence clinical outcomes of solid organ transplantation, including delayed graft function and frequency of rejection episodes. While much research has focused on the biological age of donor organs, the recipient’s biological age may also influence transplantation outcomes . The aim of this scoping review was to identify and provide an overview of the existing evidence regarding biological aging in solid organ transplant recipients and the impact on patient outcomes post-transplant.
Literature searches were carried out on PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, Embase and TRIP using the phrases ‘solid organ transplant’, ‘cell senescence’, ‘cell aging’ and ‘outcomes’, using boolean ‘and/or’ phrases and MeSH terms. Duplicates were removed and abstracts were reviewed by two independent reviewers. Full papers were then screened for inclusion by two reviewers. Data extraction was carried out using a standardised proforma agreed on prior to starting.
32 studies, including data on a total of 7724 patients, were identified for inclusion in this review; 23 relating to kidney transplant recipients, three to liver transplant, five to lung transplant and one to heart transplantation. A wide range of biomarkers of biological aging have been assessed in kidney transplant recipients, whereas studies of liver, lung and heart transplant have predominantly assessed recipient telomere length. The most robust associations with clinical outcomes are observed in kidney transplant recipients, possibly influenced by the larger number of studies and the use of a wider range of biomarkers of biological aging. In kidney transplant recipients reduced thymic function and accumulation of terminally differentiated T cell populations was associated with reduced risk of acute rejection but increased risk of infection and mortality.
Studies to date on biological aging in transplant recipients have been heavily biased to kidney transplant recipients. The results from these studies suggest recipient biological age can influence clinical outcomes and future research is needed to prioritise robust biomarkers of biological aging in transplant recipients.

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