De novodonor-specific anti-HLA antibodies mediated rejection in liver-transplant patients

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The incidence and consequences of de novo donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies (DSAs) after liver transplantation (LT) are not well known. We investigated the incidence, risk factors, and complications associated with de novo DSAs in this setting. A total of 152 de novo liver-transplant patients, without preformed anti-HLA DSAs, were tested for anti-HLA antibodies, with single-antigen bead technology, before, at transplantation, at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after transplantation, and thereafter annually and at each time they presented with increased liver-enzyme levels until the last follow-up, that is, 34 (1.5–77) months. Twenty-one patients (14%) developed de novo DSAs. Of these, five patients had C1q-binding DSAs (24%). Younger age, low exposure to calcineurin inhibitors, and noncompliance were predictive factors for de novo DSA formation. Nine of the 21 patients (43%) with de novo DSAs experienced an acute antibody-mediated rejection (AMR). Positive C4d staining was more frequently observed in liver biopsies of patients with AMR (9/9 vs. 1/12, P < 0.0001). Eight patients received a B-cell targeting therapy, and one patient received polyclonal antibodies. Only one patient required retransplantation. Patient- and graft-survival rates did not differ between patients with and without DSAs. In conclusion, liver-transplant patients with liver abnormalities should be screened for DSAs and AMR.

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