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Am J Transplant. 2011 Jan;11(1):56-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2010.03364.x.

Significance of C4d Banff scores in early protocol biopsies of kidney transplant recipients with preformed donor-specific antibodies (DSA).

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Service de Transplantation Rénale et de Soins Intensifs, Hôpital Necker, APHP, Paris, France.


The significance of C4d-Banff scores in protocol biopsies of kidney transplant recipients with preformed donor-specific antibodies (DSA) has not been determined. We reviewed 157 protocol biopsies from 80 DSA+ patients obtained at 3 months and 1 year post-transplant. The C4d Banff scores (1,2,3) were associated with significant increments of microcirculation inflammation (MI) at both 3 months and 1 year post-transplant, worse transplant glomerulopathy and higher class II DSA-MFI (p < 0.01). Minimal-C4d had injury intermediate between negative and focal, while focal and diffuse-C4d had the same degree of microvascular injury. A total of 54% of patients had variation of C4d score between 3 months and 1 year post-transplant. Cumulative (3 month + 1 year) C4d scores correlated with long-term renal function worsening (p = 0.006). However, C4d staining was not a sensitive indicator of parenchymal disease, 55% of C4d-negative biopsies having evidence of concomitant MI. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that the presence of MI and class II DSA at 3 months were associated with a fourfold increased risk of progression to chronic antibody-mediated rejection independently of C4d (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the substantial fluctuation of C4d status in the first year post-transplant reflects a dynamic humoral process. However, C4d may not be a sufficiently sensitive indicator of activity, MI and DSA being more robust predictors of bad outcome.

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