Chronic Antibody-Mediated Rejection Is Reduced by Targeting B-Cell Immunity During an Introductory Period


Kazunari Tanabe,


Transplantation across blood group antigen and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) barriers are immunologically high risk. Both splenectomy and rituximab injection were developed to overcome those immunological barriers. The idea behind these treatments is to control B-cell immunity before and after renal transplantation and antibody production. Between January 2001 and December 2004, recipients underwent pretransplant double-filtration plasmapheresis (DFPP) and splenectomy at the time of transplantation in the ABO-incompatible group (ABO-I-SPX; n= 45). From January 2005 to June 2009, a low dose of rituximab was given as an alternative to splenectomy (ABO-I-RIT; n = 57). As a control group, we selected 83 cases of ABO-C living-donor kidney transplantation between January 2001 and December 2007 (ABO-C). We compared the graft survival rate and chronic antibody-mediated rejection (C-AMR) rate between ABO-C and ABO-I kidney transplantation with induction treatment. C-AMR rates 2 years after the operation were 8.8, 3.5 and 28.9%, and de novo donor-specific anti-HLA antibody (DSHA) positive rates were 2.2, 1.7 and 18.1% in the ABO-I-SPX, ABO-I-RIT and ABO-C groups, respectively. The ABO-C group showed the highest rate of C-AMR and de novo DSHA. B-cell depletion protocols, such as splenectomy or rituximab administration, reduced C-AMR after kidney transplantation.