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J Transplant. 2011;2011:869065. doi: 10.1155/2011/869065. Epub 2011 Dec 8.

Effect of Apheresis for ABO and HLA Desensitization on Anti-Measles Antibody Titers in Renal Transplantation.

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  • 1Nephrology Division, Department I of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Munich-Campus Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Marchioninistrasse 15, D-81377 Munich, Germany.


Desensitization strategies for ABO-incompatible renal transplants with plasma exchange (PE) or specific immunoadsorption (IA) decrease immunoglobulin levels. After recent measles outbreak and decreasing vaccination rates, we studied the impact of apheresis on anti-measles antibodies. Anti-measles antibodies were measured before desensitization, before transplantation and during followup in 12 patients with ABO incompatibility (2x PE only, 8x IA only, and 2x IA and PE) and 3 patients with donor-specific HLA antibodies (all PE). Patients received rituximab, IVIG, and standard immunosuppressive therapy. All patients had detectable anti-measles antibodies before desensitization (mean 3238 mU/l, range 560-8100). After 3-6 PE sessions, titers decreased significantly to 1710 mU/l (P < 0.05), in one patient to nondetectable values, while IA only maintained protective titers. After a median followup of 64 days, anti-measles antibodies returned to baseline in all patients. Immunity against measles was temporarily reduced by apheresis but remained detectable in most patients at time of transplantation. Desensitization maintains long-term protective immunity against measles.

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