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Keywords:

  • Chronic allograft rejection;
  • donor-specific antibodies;
  • HLA antibodies;
  • Liver Transplantation

In contrast to kidney transplantation where donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies (DSA) negatively impact graft survival, correlation of DSA with clinical outcomes in patients after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) has not been clearly established. We hypothesized that DSA are present in patients who develop chronic rejection after OLT. Prospectively collected serial serum samples on 39 primary OLT patients with biopsy-proven chronic rejection and 39 comparator patients were blinded and analyzed for DSA using LABScreen® single antigen beads test, where a 1000 mean fluorescence value was considered positive. In study patients, the median graft survival was 15 months, 74% received ≥ one retransplant, 20% remain alive and 87% had ≥ one episode of acute rejection. This is in contrast to comparator patients where 69% remain alive, and no patient needed retransplant or experienced rejection. Thirty-six chronic rejection patients (92%) and 24 (61%) comparator patients had DSA (p = 0.003). Chronic rejection versus comparator patients had higher mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) DSA. Although a further study with larger numbers of patients is needed to identify clinically significant thresholds, there is an association of high-MFI DSA with chronic rejection after OLT.