Clinical and Pathological Features of Plasma Cell-Rich Acute Rejection after Kidney Transplantation

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Plasma cell-rich acute rejection (PCAR) is a rare type of allograft rejection characterized by the presence of mature plasma cells. In general the prognosis of PCAR is poor, and its clinical and pathological features remain unclear.


We performed a retrospective observational study and compared allograft survival between kidney transplant recipients who developed PCAR and those who did not develop PCAR. We further analyzed clinical and pathological risk factors for allograft failure in PCAR patients.


Of 1,956 recipients, 40 developed PCAR. There was a higher prevalence of deceased donor transplants (27.5% vs. 11.7%, P=0.0059), longer median total ischemia time (99 min, interquartile range: 71 – 144, vs. 77 min, interquartile range: 59 – 111, P=0.0309), and lower prevalence of ABO-incompatible transplantation (7.5% vs. 22.5%, P=0.0206) in patients with PCAR than in those without PCAR.


Multivariate Cox regression analysis showed that development of PCAR was associated with allograft loss (Hazard Ratio=8.03, 95% Confidence Interval: 3.89 – 14.80, P<0.0001).


We classified PCAR according to the Banff 2015 criteria into a borderline change group, a T-cell–mediated rejection (TCMR) group, an antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR) or suspected of having ABMR (ABMR/sABMR) group, and a mixed rejection (TCMR/ABMR) group. The ABMR/sABMR group was associated with a lower rate of allograft survival without significant difference (log-rank test P=0.1692).


The results indicated that PCAR was an independent risk factor for allograft loss. PCAR presented with all types of rejection in the Banff 2015 criteria, and ABMR/sABMR was associated with poor allograft survival.

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