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Keywords:

  • HLA antibodies;
  • humoral allograft rejection;
  • rejection risk;
  • renal allograft pathology

This study describes clinical relevance of subclinical antibody-mediated rejection (SAMR) in a cohort of 54 DSA-positive kidney transplant recipients receiving a deceased donor. In 3 months screening biopsies, 31.1% of patients met the criteria of SAMR. A total of 48.9% had an incomplete form of SAMR (g+/ptc+/C4d-negative) whereas 20% had no humoral lesions. Patients with SAMR at 3 months had at 1 year: a higher C4d score, ptc score, and arteriosclerosis score, higher rate of IFTA (100% vs. 33.3%, p < 0.01) and a higher rate of transplant glomerulopathy (43% vs. 0%, p = 0.02) compared to patients without 3-month SAMR. Patients with SAMR at 3 months exhibited at 1 year a higher class II MFImax-DSA and a lower mGFR compared to patients without SAMR (39.2 ± 13.9 vs. 61.9 ± 19.2 mL/min/1.73 m2 respectively, p < 0.01). The group of patients with C4d-negative SAMR at 3 months developed more ptc and IFTA lesions, and lower GFR at 1 year in comparison to biopsies without humoral lesions. SAMR is a frequent entity in KTR with preexisting DSAs and promotes subsequent GFR impairment and development of chronic AMR. C4d-negative SAMR patients displayed an intermediate course between the no-SAMR group and the C4d+ SAMR group. Screening biopsies may be useful to recognize patients more likely to develop SAMR.