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Clin Transplant. 1997 Apr;11(2):127-33.

The fate of renal transplants in patients with IgA nephropathy.

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Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.



IgA Nephropathy (IgA N) is one of the most common glomerulopathies and may lead to renal failure in 10-20% of cases. After renal transplantation, IgA N has a strong tendency to recur in the graft. Initially considered a benign condition, graft losses from recurrent IgA N have been reported over the last 20 yr, casting doubt on the initial premise. Since large single-center studies of the fate of renal allografts in IgA N are rare and the Mayo Clinic transplant experience for IgA N is extensive (dating back to 1970), a review of these issues appeared worthwhile.


A retrospective study was done of all renal transplant patients who had had biopsy-proven IgA N as underlying disorder. We extracted data on the underlying disease, history leading to renal transplantation, factors affecting transplant outcome, and on the course after transplantation with special attention to rejection activity and recurrence of the primary disease. Standard statistical methods were employed.


53 renal allografts were transplanted to 51 biopsy-proven IgA N patients: 12 were cadaveric (CAD) grafts, 3 HLA-mismatched living related donor (LRD) kidneys, 29 one haplotype-matched LRD and 9 HLA-identical LRD organs. Five-year actuarial graft survival was 100% in HLA-identical LRD, 88% in one haplotype-matched LRD, and 74% in CAD grafts. All three HLA-mismatched LRD kidneys were functioning up to 1.6 yr (longest follow-up). Only one patient died after acute rejection of the CAD graft. There were 3 early graft losses from acute rejection and 4 late losses. IgA N recurred in 26% of allograft and led to significant loss of graft function in 10 of the 14 patients (71%) over a long period of observation. Three of four late graft losses were in patients with recurrent IgA N. Recurrence was not related to the type of graft, i.e. CAD vs. LRD, nor to the extent of HLA-matching in LRD transplantation.


Renal transplantation in patients with IgA N has excellent patient and graft survival. There is a high rate of recurrence of the primary glomerulopathy in the renal allograft, and this event is by no means inconsequential. Loss of renal function and even graft loss occur over prolonged periods of time. There is no disadvantage getting a well matched LRD in regard to incidence of recurrent IgA N. Thus, we encourage LRD transplantation in IgA N.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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