JOURNAL ARTICLE

Diagnostic value of C4d in renal allograft biopsies in different clinical settings: absence of C4d in grafts from non-heart-beating donors

M Crespo, M Sole, J L Arostegui, J Mila, J Martorell, F Oppenheimer
Transplantation Proceedings 2005, 37 (9): 3688-9
16386506

UNLABELLED: Humoral mechanisms of rejection after kidney transplantation (TX) can be identified through the detection of diffuse complement C4d deposits in peritubular capillaries (PTC) in graft biopsies or donor-specific antibodies (DSA) in serum samples. It has been hypothesized that ischemic injury in the graft may facilitate humoral responses. Kidney grafts from non-heart-beating donors (NHBD) present more often severe ischemia lesions than grafts from heart-beating or living donors.

METHODS: We reviewed kidney TX biopsies performed from May 2002 to November 2004 with special interest paid to recipients from NHBD. We checked corresponding frozen tissue for the detection of C4d in PTC using immunofluorescence with a monoclonal antibody against C4d. We also collected post-TX contemporaneous DSA data, either flow crossmatches or cytotoxic PRA.

RESULTS: During this period, we performed 22 kidney TXs from NHBD of a total of 326 kidney TX (either single or combined with other grafts). Nine patients of this group underwent 12 biopsies for delayed graft function over 15 days or deteriorating scans. All biopsies showed acute tubular necrosis, but one also presented IA Banff acute rejection and another one had neutrophils in PTC. Frozen tissue from these 12 biopsies did not have diffuse C4d deposits in PTC. Serum samples of seven of nine patients were available: four had negative DSA flow crossmatches and three had 0% PRA within the same period. We diagnosed acute humoral rejection (AHR) in 13 patients-with acute renal dysfunction, C4d in biopsies and DSA after kidney TX-of 38 with high clinical suspicion for AHR. We detected C4d in seven biopsies of 30 patients performed more than 6 months after TX.

CONCLUSIONS: Severe ischemic injury does not necessarily determine the activation of humoral mechanisms of rejection mediated through DSA. Therefore, C4d is extremely interesting for the identification of humoral rejection in any clinical setting after kidney TX.

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