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Pathol Int. 2012 Apr;62(4):254-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1827.2012.02803.x. Epub 2012 Mar 4.

Tubular and endothelial chimerism in renal allografts using fluorescence and chromogenic in situ hybridization (FISH, CISH) technology.

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Institute of Surgical Pathology, Department Pathology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


The role of endothelial and tubular chimerism in renal allograft adaptation and rejection varies in different studies. We addressed the correlation between different clinico-pathological settings and sex-chromosomal endothelial and/or tubular chimerism in renal allografts. We examined the presence or absence of the X and Y chromosomes by fluorescence and chromogenic in situ hybridization (FISH, CISH) methodology on paraffin embedded kidney biopsies in 16 gender mismatched renal transplants (1 to 12 years post-transplantation). Twelve patients were male, four female. Four groups were selected: (i) Vascular calcineurin inhibitor toxicity without rejection; (ii) T-cell mediated vascular rejection; (iii) antibody mediated rejection; and (iv) C4d-positivity in AB0-incompatible transplants with or without rejection. Twelve non-transplant kidney biopsies (8 female, 4 male) were used as controls. Tubular chimerism was detected more frequently (69%) than endothelial chimerism (12%) in renal transplants. One of 12 control patients had tubular and endothelial chimeric cells (8%). The Y chromosome occurred in 8/12 male recipients (67%) in tubular epithelial cells and in 5/12 male recipients (42%) in endothelial cells. Double X chromosomes were detected in 3/4 female recipients in tubular epithelium. Tubular chimerism occurred more often with endothelial chimerism and capillaritis without correlation with other parameters, such as rejection. Combined Y chromosomal tubular and lymphatic endothelial chimerism correlated with T-cell mediated vascular rejection in two out of three patients (66%). Combined Y chromosomal tubular and peritubular capillary chimerism correlated with antibody mediated C4d+ rejection in one out of two patients (50%). Tubular and/or endothelial chimerism occur frequently in gender mismatched renal allografts and, when combined, this is associated with T-cell mediated rejection.

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