No Impact of KIR-Ligand Mismatch on Allograft Outcome in HLA-Compatible Kidney Transplantation

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Natural killer (NK) cell function can be modulated by the killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) which interact with human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I molecules on target cells. KIR-ligand mismatching has recently been shown by van Bergen et al. (American Journal of Transplantation 2011; 11(9): 1959–1964) to be a significant risk factor for long-term graft loss in HLA-A, -B and -DR compatible kidney transplants. To verify this potentially important finding, we performed genotyping of 608 deceased-donor kidney graft recipients and their HLA-A, -B and -DR compatible donors for KIR and HLA, using samples and clinical data provided by the Collaborative Transplant Study. Graft survival of KIR-ligand-matched and -mismatched transplants was compared. We found no impact of KIR-ligand mismatching on 10-year graft survival in HLA-A, -B, -DR compatible kidney transplants. Further analysis did not reveal a significant effect of recipient activating/inhibitory KIR or KIR genotypes on graft survival. Our data do not support the concept that KIR-HLA matching might serve as a tool to improve long-term renal allograft survival.

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