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Hum Immunol. 2005 Apr;66(4):334-42.

Humoral theory of transplantation: mechanism, prevention, and treatment.

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Terasaki Foundation Laboratory, Los Angeles, CA 90064, USA.


We discuss the potential mechanisms of antibody-induced primary endothelium injury, which includes complement-dependent pathway (membrane attack complex formation, recruitment of inflammatory cells, and complement-complement receptor-mediated phagocytosis) and complement independent pathway antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity. Secondary to endothelium injury, the following pathological reactions are found to be responsible for progressive tissue injury and final graft function loss: platelet activation and thrombosis, pathological smooth muscle and endothelial cell proliferation, and humoral and/or cellular infiltrate-mediated parenchyma damage after endothelium injury. We also introduce three categories of therapeutic strategy in the prevention and treatment of antibody-mediated rejection: (1) inhibition and depletion of antibody producing cells (immunosuppressants, antilymphocyte antibodies, splenectomy); (2) removal or blockage of preexisting or newly developed antibodies (immunoadsorption, plasmapheresis/plasma exchange, intravenous immunoglobulin); and (3) impediment or postponement of antibody-mediated primary and secondary tissue injury (anticoagulation, glucosteroids). In conclusion, because alloantibodies have destructive effect on allografts, alloantibody monitoring becomes extremely important. It will help clinicians to determine a patient's humoral responses against allograft and will therefore direct clinicians to optimize and/or minimize immunosuppressive drug therapy.

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