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Clin Exp Nephrol. 2018 Feb;22(1):179-187. doi: 10.1007/s10157-017-1424-7. Epub 2017 Jun 20.

The effect of desensitization therapy in kidney transplantation.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Surgery, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Medical Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, 101 Daehak-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, 03080, Republic of Korea.
Kidney Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Desensitization therapy may enable the patient to get allograft in sensitized recipient or solve the organ shortage in ABO-incompatible relationship in kidney transplantation (KT). However, the graft outcome and morbidity remains unclear.


We retrospectively analyzed 845 KT patients from January 2010 to February 2016 at Seoul National University Hospital. The patients were divided into three groups as follows: HLA-incompatible (HLAi) group, ABO-incompatible (ABOi) group, and control group. The HLAi group comprised patients who received desensitization therapy due to the presence of donor-specific antibodies (DSAs) or high panel reactive antibodies (PRAs). The ABOi group is defined as those undergoing preoperative desensitization therapy for anti-ABO antibodies.


Of the total of 845 recipients, 48 (5.6%) were HLAi KTs and 71 (13.9%) were ABOi KTs, respectively. Pre-emptive KT is done more frequently in ABOi group, therefore, they had shorter dialysis duration than the others. HLAi recipients had a higher proportion of women than the ABOi group and a higher proportion of re-transplantation. During the 38.4 (0.4-76.9) months of follow-up, there were more acute antibody-mediated rejections (AAMRs) in the HLAi (6.7%) and ABOi (8.5%) groups than in the control group (1.9%) (P = 0.001). However, there was no difference in graft survival, patient survival, and annual allograft among three groups.


Despite the higher incidence of AAMRs, HLAi and ABOi KTs showed a favorable graft and patient outcome after desensitization therapy.


ABO-incompatibility; Desensitization; HLA-incompatibility; Kidney transplantation

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