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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2001 Dec;12(12):2807-14.

Flow cytometric crossmatching in primary renal transplant recipients with a negative anti-human globulin enhanced cytotoxicity crossmatch.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


Flow cytometric crossmatching (FCXM) and panel reactive antibody (PRA) screening techniques are more sensitive than anti-human globulin enhanced cytotoxicity (AHG-CDC) techniques at detecting anti-HLA antibodies. The clinical significance of a positive FCXM in primary renal transplant recipients with a negative AHG-CDC crossmatch is unclear. We performed retrospective FCXM and flow cytometric panel reactive antibody (FlowPRA) determinations in primary renal transplant recipients with a negative T cell AHG-CDC crossmatch and a negative B cell CDC crossmatch pretransplant. Eighteen (13%) of 143 patients exhibited a positive retrospective T cell FCXM. Of these patients, six (33%) experienced early graft loss with explant histology, demonstrating antibody-mediated rejection in five of six cases. The 12 patients with positive T cell FCXM who maintained their grafts experienced more adverse events posttransplant, including more early, steroid-resistant, and recurrent rejection. Furthermore, in a subgroup of patients undergoing protocol biopsies, those with a positive T cell FCXM exhibited more subclinical rejection. Anti-HLA antibodies were detected by FlowPRA in all 18 patients with a positive T cell FCXM, whereas AHG-CDC PRA detected antibodies in only 8 of 18 patients. Therefore, flow cytometric techniques identify sensitized primary renal transplant recipients undetected by AHG-CDC techniques. In those patients, a positive T cell FCXM is associated with an increased risk of early graft loss due to antibody-mediated rejection and may represent a relative contraindication to transplantation. Moreover, those patients are also at increased risk of severe and recurrent rejection, which may carry implications for long-term graft outcomes.

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