Donor-reactive cytokine profiles after HLA-identical living-related kidney transplantation

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After HLA-identical living-related (LR) kidney transplantation, only non-HLA antigen mismatches between donor and recipient may exist. We questioned whether donor-reactive responses against non-HLA antigens could be found after HLA-identical LR kidney transplantation, and wondered whether donor reactivity in the HLA-identical setting was different from the HLA-mismatched setting during immunological quiescence. Healthy individuals served as controls.


Elispot assays were performed to determine the number of alloreactive IFN-γ-producing cells (pc), IL-10 pc, granzyme B (GrB) pc and IL-13 pc from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of HLA-identical, HLA-mismatched LR kidney transplant recipients and healthy individuals.


The frequency of alloreactive IFN-γ pc, IL-13 pc and GrB pc was higher in healthy individuals compared to both transplant patient groups. In the HLA-identical group, significantly higher numbers of donor-reactive IL-10 pc were found compared to their autologous control. These frequencies were also higher compared to the HLA-mismatched and healthy control group. The number of donor-reactive GrB pc was higher in the HLA-mismatched group than in the HLA-identical group. Donor-reactive IFN-γ pc and IL-13 pc were comparable in both transplant groups.


In recipients of HLA-identical LR kidney transplant, high donor-reactive IL-10 pc, in combination with low donor-reactive IFN-γ pc, IL-13 pc and GrB pc, suggests active downregulation of reactivity against non-HLA molecules.

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