Donor-specific antibodies against HLA, MICA, and GSTT1 in patients with allograft rejection and C4d deposition in renal biopsies

Antonia Alvarez-Márquez, Isabel Aguilera, Miguel A Gentil, José L Caro, Gabriel Bernal, Jorge Fernández Alonso, Maria J Acevedo, Virginia Cabello, Ingeborg Wichmann, Maria F Gonzalez-Escribano, Antonio Núñez-Roldán
Transplantation 2009 January 15, 87 (1): 94-9

BACKGROUND: Production of antibodies against donor-specific antigens is one of the central mechanisms of allograft rejection. This antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) is evidenced by the presence of circulating donor-specific antibodies and deposition of complement component C4d on renal endothelium. Although anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies account for a high proportion of AMR, in many cases anti-HLA antibodies cannot be demonstrated. In liver transplant, antibodies against glutathione-S-transferase T1 (GSTT1) expressed on the graft may induce an antibody response leading to a severe graft dysfunction. In addition, presence of antibodies against major-histocompatibility-complex class I chain-related gene A (MICA) has been associated with a poor graft survival in kidney transplantation.

METHODS: Pre- and posttransplantation sera from 19 patients fulfilling the criteria for AMR including C4d deposition in renal biopsies were included. Donor-specific antibodies against HLA-I and -II and MICA were studied using Luminex. Anti-GSTT1 antibodies were analyzed by indirect immunofluorescence and by an ELISA method. A control group of 39 patients with graft dysfunction negative for C4d was also included.

RESULTS: At the time of the biopsy, 4 (21%) patients had only anti-HLA class I antibodies; 3 (15.8%) had anti-GSTT1, 2 (10.5%) had anti-HLA-class II, and 2 (10.5%) had anti-MICA; four patients had combination of antibodies: HLA-I + MICA (n=1), HLA-I + GSTT1 (n=2), and GSTT1+MICA (n=1). No antibodies were found in 4 (21%) patients. In total, 6 (31.6%) C4d+ patients had anti-GSTT1 antibodies, whereas, among the 39 C4d-negative patients, only 3 (7.7%) had anti-GSTT1 antibodies (P=0.027).

CONCLUSION: Besides anti-HLA antibodies, donor-specific antibodies against MICA and GSTT1 antigens could be responsible for the occurrence of antibody-mediated kidney graft rejection.

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