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Transpl Int. 2015 Oct;28(10):1179-94. doi: 10.1111/tri.12616. Epub 2015 Jun 17.

ABO desensitization affects cellular immunity and infection control after renal transplantation.

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Department of Nephrology and Internal Intensive Care, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
Berlin-Brandenburg Center of Regenerative Therapies (BCRT), Berlin, Germany.


The impact of ABO desensitization on overall immunity, infectious control, and alloreactivity remains unknown. We compared 35 ABO-incompatible kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) to a control of 62 ABO compatible KTRs. Samples were collected before, at +1, +2, +3, +6, and +12 months post-transplantation. CMV-, BKV-specific, and alloreactive T cells were measured using an interferon-γ ELISPOT assay. The extent of immunosuppression was quantified by enumeration of lymphocyte subpopulations and cytokines. No differences were observed for 5-year allograft survival and function between both groups (P > 0.05). However, ABO-incompatible KTRs were more likely to develop CMV infection, BKV-associated nephropathy, and severe sepsis (P = 0.001). Interestingly, ABO-incompatible KTRs with poor HLA-match showed the highest rates of infections and inferior allograft function (P < 0.05). CD3+, CD4+ T-cell counts, interferon-γ and IL-10 levels were lower in ABO-incompatible KTRs early post-transplantation (P < 0.05). Likewise, ABO-incompatible KTRs showed impaired BKV- and CMV-specific T-cell immunity (P < 0.05). ABO-incompatible KTRs showed lower frequencies of alloreactive T cells (P < 0.05). Our data suggest T-cell depletion due to ABO desensitization, which may contribute to the increased risk of T-cell-dependent infections. Elimination of B cells serving as antigen-presenting cells, thereby causing impaired T-cell activation, plays a significant role in both impaired infection control and reduced alloreactive T-cell activation.


ABO incompatibility; T cells; alloreactivity; infection; lymphopenia; renal transplantation

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