SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Complement C4d deposition in graft capillaries has been reported to be associated with antibody-mediated rejection in kidney and other solid organ transplantation. The correlation of C4d deposits and humoral rejection in liver transplants, however, is not well understood. We investigated the C4d immunostaining pattern in 34 patients whose liver biopsy was taken within the first 3 postoperative weeks for suspected acute rejection after ABO blood type-incompatible liver transplantation. The staining pattern was classified as positive (portal stromal staining), indeterminate (endothelial staining only), and negative (no staining). Positive C4d immunostaining was seen in 17 (50%) patients and was significantly associated with high (×64 or more) postoperative antidonor A/B antibody (immunoglobulin M (IgM)) titers (88 vs. 35%, P = 0.002) and poorer overall survival rate (41 vs. 88%, P = 0.007). Ten of 11 (91%) cases with histological acute humoral rejection (periportal edema and necrosis (PEN) or portal hemorrhagic edema) were positive for C4d, all of which showed high postoperative antibody titers. The other histologies associated with C4d positivity was purulent cholangitis (n = 4), coagulative hepatocyte necrosis (n = 1), acute cellular rejection (n = 1), and hepatocanalicular cholestasis (n = 1). Full clinical recovery was observed in only 6 of 17 (35%) C4d-positive patients, and tended to be associated with a lower rejection activity index (RAI). In conclusion, our study indicates that C4d deposits in the portal stroma can be a hallmark of acute humoral rejection in ABO-incompatible liver transplantation, and allograft damage can be reversible in a minority of cases. Liver Transpl 12:457–464, 2006. © 2006 AASLD.