Peritubular capillaritis in early renal allograft is associated with the development of chronic rejection and chronic allograft nephropathy

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Peritubular capillaritis (PTCitis) has been recognized as one form of acute/active allograft rejection, and its relation to humoral immunity has been suggested. However, its mechanisms remain to be fully clarified, and there are no criteria for evaluating the extent of PTCitis in a biopsied allograft. In this study, we first evaluated the extent of PTCitis in early allografts in patients presenting with acute cellular rejection (ACR) and antibody-mediated rejection (AbAR). We also included patients who showed no evidence of ACR and/or AbAR. Next, we investigated whether or not PTCitis persisted and if peritubular capillary basement membrane (PTCBM) thickening was present in their follow-up biopsy specimens. We adopted the scoring system of PTCitis, which was presented at the Seventh Banff Conference on Allograft Pathology in 2003. In total, 53 patients were included in this study. At first biopsy, 17 showed ACR, eight showed AbAR, 16 showed mild PTCitis only, and 14 were without significant pathologic changes. The PTC score was the highest in the AbAR group, and in some patients the score gradually increased during the follow-up period. Similar changes were also observed in the group with mild PTCitis only. In late allografts, half of the patients with AbAR developed chronic rejection (CR), and the PTCBM score was the highest in that group. Surprisingly, CR was present in more than 30% of patients without ACR and/or AbAR but mild PTCitis only. In the control group, only a few showed CR and/or chronic allograft nephropathy (CAN). In conclusion, it became clear that we should carefully monitor for mild PTCitis in early allografts. In addition, our data also proved the usefulness of the PTC score and PTCBM score.

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