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Keywords:

  • FACS analysis;
  • liver transplantation;
  • living-related liver donors;
  • lymphocytes;
  • tolerance

Operational tolerance (graft acceptance in an immunosuppression (IS)-free environment) after living-donor liver transplantation (LDLT) could occur by our elective protocol in some patients. There is, nevertheless, no reliable parameter to monitor patients who may discontinue IS without a risk of rejection. To identify such parameters, we systemically phenotyped peripheral blood mononuclear cells from operationally tolerant patients. An increase was observed in the frequency of CD4+CD25high+ cells, B cells and Vδ1/Vδ2 γδT-cells ratio in operationally tolerant patients (Gr-tol; n = 12), compared with those from age-matched volunteers (Gr-vol; n = 24) or patients on IS (Gr-IS; n = 19). The frequency of NK cells was decreased in Gr-tol, compared with those in Gr-IS or Gr-vol. The frequency of NKT cells was decreased after LDLT, compared with that in Gr-vol. Although the contribution of those subsets to the tolerant state remains elusive, the results may provide important clues for reliable indicators of tolerance after LDLT.