Long-term Clinical Relevance of De Novo Donor-Specific Antibodies After Pediatric Liver Transplantation

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BackgroundAnti-HLA antibodies and especially donor-specific antibodies (DSA) play a significant role in graft survival after solid organ transplantation. Their impact on long-term survival in adult liver transplantation (LT) is controversial, but they may be a risk factor. The effects of DSA after pediatric LT are still unclear.MethodsWe performed a retrospective evaluation of DSA in sera from 43 children who had received transplants at our tertiary center. Twenty-four patients had good long-term clinical and laboratory graft function (group 1), whereas 19 LT recipients suffered from histologically confirmed and clinically relevant chronic allograft rejection (group 2); 16 of these have already undergone retransplantation due to graft dysfunction. Inclusion criteria were availability of sera before the first LT to identify preformed antibodies in case of DSA positivity after LT and long-term follow-up at our institution. Sera were analyzed for anti-HLA antibodies using Luminex single antigen beads, where a mean fluorescence intensity value of more than 1500 was considered positive.ResultsThe prevalence of DSA was 33% for group 1 and 68% for group 2. Antibodies were predominantly HLA class II. Values of mean fluorescence intensity were comparable in both groups. Only one of the DSA+ ve patients from group 1 exhibited preformed antibodies. In conclusion, pediatric patients with chronic rejection revealed a higher rate of de novo DSA, especially of HLA-class II DSA. Further studies are necessary to confirm these data with a larger pediatric cohort.

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