• ABO-incompatible;
  • antibody-mediated rejection;
  • complement;
  • HLA;
  • positive crossmatch;
  • renal biopsy;
  • renal transplantation

Biopsies of ABO-incompatible and positive crossmatch (HLA-incompatible) renal allografts were retrospectively examined to compare results of C4d and C3d staining, and the correlation between such staining and histologic findings suggestive of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR). A total of 75 biopsies (55 protocol, 17 for graft dysfunction, 3 for other indications) of 24 ABO-incompatible grafts and 244 biopsies (103 protocol, 129 for graft dysfunction, 12 for other indications) of 66 HLA-incompatible grafts were examined; all were stained for C4d and ∼40% for C3d.

In ABO-incompatible grafts, 80% of protocol biopsies and 59% performed for graft dysfunction showed C4d staining in peritubular capillaries (PTC); this staining was not correlated with neutrophil margination in PTC. In HLA-incompatible grafts, PTC C4d was present in 26% of protocol biopsies and 60% of biopsies for graft dysfunction; 92% of biopsies with >1+ (0–4+ scale), diffuse PTC C4d had ≥1+ margination and/or thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA), compared with 12% of C4d-negative biopsies. C3d was somewhat more predictive of margination than C4d in ABO-incompatible, but not HLA-incompatible, grafts. In summary, while PTC C4d deposition indicates probable AMR in biopsies of HLA-incompatible grafts, including protocol biopsies, there is no histologic evidence that C4d deposition is correlated with injury in most ABO-incompatible grafts.