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Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Mar;95(11):e3094. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000003094.

Clinical Significance of HLA-DQ Antibodies in the Development of Chronic Antibody-Mediated Rejection and Allograft Failure in Kidney Transplant Recipients.

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From the Department of Laboratory Medicine (HL, E-JO); Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine (JWM, CWY, BHC); Department of Surgery, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, College of Medicine (J-IK, I-SM); and Department of Biomedical Science (K-HP), Graduate School, Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


With the development of the single antigen beads assay, the role of donor specific alloantibody (DSA) against human leukocyte antigens in kidney transplantation (KT) has been highlighted. This study aimed to investigate the clinical significance of DQ-DSA detected at renal allograft biopsy. We evaluated 263 KT recipients who underwent allograft biopsy and DSA detection at the same time. Among them, 155 patients who were nonsensitized before transplantation were selected to investigate the role of de-novo DQ-DSA. Both the total and nonsensitized subgroup was categorized into 4 groups each according to DSA results as: DQ only, DQ + non-DQ, non-DQ, and no DSA. In the total patient group, post-KT DSA was positive in 79 (30.0%) patients and DQ-DSA was most prevalent (64.6%). In the nonsensitized subgroup, de-novo DSAs were detected in 45 (29.0%) patients and DQ-DSA was also most prevalent (73.3%). The DQ only group showed a significantly longer post-KT duration compared to the other groups (P < 0.05). The overall incidence of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) was 17.9%. B-DSA, DR-DSA, and DQ-DSA were associated with AMR (P < 0.05), but in the analysis for chronic AMR, only DQ-DSA showed significance in both the total and the nonsensitized subgroup (P < 0.05). On comparison of Banff scores among groups, those representing humoral immunity were significantly dominant in all DSA positive groups compared to the no DSA group (P < 0.05), and higher scores of markers representing chronic tissue injury were more frequently detected in the groups with DQ-DSA. The worst postbiopsy survival was seen in the DQ + non-DQ group of the total patient group, and patients with de-novo DQ-DSA showed poorer graft survival in the nonsensitized subgroup compared to the no DSA group (P < 0.05). In the multivariate analysis, de-novo DQ-DSA was the only significant risk factor associated with late allograft failure (P < 0.05). Our study is the first to demonstrate the association of DQ-DSA with detailed histological findings representing chronic AMR. These findings suggest that the detection of DQ-DSA in nonsensitized patients is significantly associated with the development of chronic AMR and late allograft failure. Therefore monitoring of DQ-DSA not only in sensitized patients, but also nonsensitized patients may be necessary to improve long-term allograft outcomes.

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