C5 Blockade with Conventional Immunosuppression Induces Long-Term Graft Survival in Presensitized Recipients


* Corresponding author: Hao Wang, hwang1@uwo.ca


We explored whether a functionally blocking anti-C5 monoclonal antibody (mAb) combined with T- and B-cell immunosuppression can successfully prevent antibody-mediated (AMR) and cell-mediated rejection (CMR) in presensitized murine recipients of life-supporting kidney allografts. To mimic the urgent clinical features of AMR experienced by presensitized patients, we designed a murine model in which BALB/c recipients were presensitized with fully MHC-mismatched C3H donor skin grafts one week prior to C3H kidney transplantation. Presensitized recipients demonstrated high levels of circulating and intragraft antidonor antibodies and terminal complement activity, rejecting grafts within 8.5 ± 1.3 days. Graft rejection was predominantly by AMR, characterized by interstitial hemorrhage, edema and glomerular/tubular necrosis, but also demonstrated moderate cellular infiltration, suggesting CMR involvement. Subtherapeutic treatment with cyclosporine (CsA) and LF15–0195 (LF) did not significantly delay rejection. Significantly, however, the addition of anti-C5 mAb to this CsA/LF regimen prevented terminal complement activity and inhibited both AMR and CMR, enabling indefinite (>100 days) kidney graft survival despite the persistence of antidonor antibodies. Long-term surviving kidney grafts expressed the protective proteins Bcl-xS/L and A-20 and demonstrated normal histology, suggestive of graft accommodation or tolerance. Thus, C5 blockade combined with routine immunosuppression offers a promising approach to prevent graft loss in presensitized patients.