Urinary CD20 mRNA as a surrogate of CD20-positive cells infiltration during allograft dysfunction in renal transplant patients

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B lymphocyte infiltration in renal acute allograft rejection has been associated with steroid resistance and poor outcomes. We aimed to measure CD20 mRNA in urine of renal transplant patients with graft dysfunction and correlate with the histological diagnosis and immunohistochemical (IH) staining for CD20. A total of 48 urine samples were analyzed (21 with acute rejection, 10 with chronic allograft nephropathy, 11 with unspecific tubular lesions, 3 with acute pyelonephritis and 3 with polyomavirus nephropathy). Higher urinary CD20 levels associated with a positive IH staining for CD20 (>50 positive cells/HPF) in renal tissue (p = 0.04), with a sensitivity of 83.3% and a specificity of 51.6%. Within the acute rejection group, a positive staining for CD20 was not associated with graft loss, steroid resistance or lack of return to basal creatinine after treatment, but was associated with higher serum creatinine at 3 and 6 months, 1 and 2 years after the acute episode (p < 0.05). In conclusion, we showed that urinary levels of CD20 detected by RT-PCR had a high sensitivity for CD20+ staining in the corresponding renal tissue, but with a low specificity. Patients with clusters of CD20+ cells >50/HPF had higher serum creatinine after 2 years of follow up.

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