Renal transplant patients with preformed anti-HLA antibodies: Early biopsy findings and clinical outcomes

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Abstract

Introduction: Renal fibrosis is the end point of a process that begins at transplant, with ischemia reperfusion and early inflammation, and progresses over time with immunological and non-immunological phenomena. Early identification of morphological markers and intervention could improve graft function and survival. Objective: to evaluate the correlation between intensity and specificity of pre-transplant anti-HLA antibodies and kidney allograft pathology in order to identify early risk factors or markers of allograft dysfunction. Methods: A retrospective cohort of kidney transplant recipients with pre-transplant anti-HLA antibodies who underwent graft biopsy within the first two years post-transplant was divided into two groups according to the specificity of anti-HLA antibodies: nonspecific (non-DSA, n = 29) and specific (DSA+, n = 16). Kidney graft pathology, renal function, and proteinuria were analyzed. Results: general characteristics were similar in both groups, except for the higher dose of thymoglobulin in DSA+ group (p < 0.05). The non-DSA group had higher scores for glomerulosclerosis, interstitial inflammation (i) and interstitial fibrosis (ci) (p < 0.05) and higher incidence of cell-mediated acute rejection. No statistical difference in incidence of antibody-mediated rejection, renal function, and proteinuria was observed during follow up. Discussion and conclusions: the difference in inflammation scores and interstitial fibrosis may be associated to the higher incidence of acute cell-mediated rejection and polyomavirus nephropathy in the Non-DSA group. We also should take into account the protective effect of higher doses of thymoglobulin, reducing ischemia reperfusion injury in the DSA+ group. The short follow-up might have been insufficient to detect long-term changes in allograft tissue, renal function, and proteinuria.

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de Sousa, M. V., de Lima Zollner, R., & Mazzali, M. (2020). Renal transplant patients with preformed anti-HLA antibodies: Early biopsy findings and clinical outcomes. Brazilian Journal of Nephrology, 42(2), 201–210. https://doi.org/10.1590/2175-8239-JBN-2018-0244

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