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Transplant Proc. 2008 Apr;40(3):746-8. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.02.045.

Systemic lupus erythematosus after renal transplantation: is complement a good marker for graft survival?

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Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, School of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas, UNICAMP, Brazil.



Renal transplantation is considered a safe procedure for patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). However, the recurrence of disease and its impact on graft survival remains controversial.


To analyze the presence of lupus serology activity during dialysis and its impact on lupus recurrence after transplantation, we performed a retrospective analysis of 23 lupus patients who received 26 kidney transplantations.


Twenty-three patients received 26 renal transplantations from 1984 to 2003. Twelve patients presented pretransplant lupus activity (low complement and ANA > 1/40), without correlation with length of dialysis, but associated with proliferative glomerulonephritis (class IV) pretransplant. Among 26 grafts, 6 were lost in the first 6 months posttransplant. Among the remaining 20 functioning grafts, low complement activity occurred in 8, being associated with recurrence of immune deposits in 3 cases. Analysis of lupus activity showed that only one patient with a normal complement level posttransplant presented SLEDAI > 4, associated with persistent proteinuria and a graft biopsy without immune deposits. Graft survival was reduced in the presence of low complement posttransplantation.


Low complement levels after renal transplantation, in association with proteinuria may be considered to be a risk factor for recurrence of immune deposits, with a negative impact on graft survival.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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