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Am J Transplant. 2013 Jun;13(6):1594-600. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12219. Epub 2013 Apr 25.

Literature review of passenger lymphocyte syndrome following renal transplantation and two case reports.

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Department of Renal Medicine & Transplantation, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK.


Passenger lymphocyte syndrome (PLS) is an immune-mediated hemolysis. It occurs following ABO blood group mismatched solid organ and/or bone marrow transplantation between donor and recipient. We report two cases of PLS occurring after renal transplantation. Both recipients received live related kidney transplants; one from his mother and the other from his brother. The direction of blood group transfer, from donor to recipient, was O Rh D+ to A Rh D+ in both cases. Approximately 12 days after transplantation, both recipients showed a rapid fall in their hemoglobin levels with no identifiable bleeding source. DAT positive hemolysis was confirmed and anti-A antibodies were detected in recipient sera, confirming a diagnosis of PLS. Both cases required blood transfusion support to maintain their hemoglobin and both had good renal outcomes. We have identified 99 PLS cases following renal transplant in the English literature. Previous ABO sensitization, donor blood group O to recipient blood group A or B transfer, and ciclosporin treatment have been identified as risk factors for PLS. Clinical outcomes in general are good; nonetheless, cases of graft failure and deaths have been reported. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are important in at risk individuals.

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