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Transplantation. 2005 May 27;79(10):1435-40.

Capillary deposition of complement C4d and C3d in pediatric renal allograft biopsies.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Transplantation, University Hospitals Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.



Peritubular capillary deposition of C4d (C4d(PTC)) is a marker of antibody-mediated alloresponse and is associated with poor graft survival in adults. C3d(PTC) has received less attention; its significance is unclear. To date no information has been gained in children.


The prevalence of C4d(PTC) and C3d(PTC) in pediatric renal allograft biopsies (n=77, 31 cadaveric kidneys) was analyzed retrospectively. Associations with histology, donor-specific antibodies (DSAs), and outcome were investigated.


The overall prevalence of C4d(PTC) and C3d(PTC) was 52% and 48%, respectively. C3d(PTC) was associated with C4d(PTC) (P<0.0001). Thirty-six percent of acute rejections were cellular, 28% were humoral, and 36% were combined cellular and humoral. C3d(PTC) was found in 57% of acute rejection biopsies. C4d(PTC), but not C3d(PTC), was associated with accumulation of polymorphonuclear cells in peritubular capillaries (P=0.02). Fifty-one percent of late biopsies (>6 months posttransplantation) had features of chronic allograft nephropathy: 50% were C4d(PTC_ positive, and 50% were C3d(PTC) positive. C4d(PTC) positive chronic allograft nephropathy biopsies had more transplant glomerulopathy (P=0.020) and mesangial matrix increase (P=0.026). C3d(PTC) tended to be associated with transplant glomerulopathy (P=0.06), but not with mesangial matrix increase. C4d(PTC) was correlated with DSA (P=0.011). Excluding early nonrejection graft losses, more grafts were lost in the C4d(PTC) positive group (P=0.019). C3d(PTC) was not associated with DSA or graft outcome.


Our results support C4d(PTC) being a hallmark of humoral rejection in pediatric renal transplantation; its presence was associated with DSA and poorer immunologic graft outcome. In contrast, C3d(PTC), although highly associated with C4d(PTC), did not correlate with DSA or outcome.

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