Short-term adverse effects of early subclinical allograft inflammation in kidney transplant recipients with a rapid steroid withdrawal protocol.
The impact of subclinical inflammation (SCI) noted on early kidney allograft biopsies remains unclear. This study evaluated the outcome of SCI noted on 3-month biopsy. A total of 273/363 (75%) kidney transplant recipients with a functioning kidney underwent allograft biopsies 3-months posttransplant. Among those with stable allograft function at 3 months, 200 biopsies that did not meet the Banff criteria for acute rejection were identified. These were Group I: No Inflammation (NI, n = 71) and Group II: Subclinical Inflammation (SCI, n = 129). We evaluated differences in kidney function at 24-months and allograft histology score at 12-month biopsy. SCI patients had a higher serum creatinine (1.6 ± 0.7 vs 1.38 ± 0.45; P = .02) at 24-months posttransplant, and at last follow-up at a mean of 42.5 months (1.69 ± 0.9 vs 1.46 ± 0.5 mg/dL; P = .027). The allograft chronicity score (ci + ct + cg + cv) at 12-months posttransplant was higher in the SCI group (2.4 ± 1.35 vs 1.9 ± 1.2; P = .02). The incidence of subsequent rejections within the first year in SCI and NI groups was 24% vs 10%, respectively (P = .015). De novo donor-specific antibody within 12 months was more prevalent in the SCI group (12/129 vs 1/71, P = .03). SCI is likely not a benign finding and may have long-term implications for kidney allograft function.