Efficacy of plasmapheresis on donor-specific antibody reduction by HLA specificity in post–kidney transplant recipients

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Donor-specific antibodies (DSAs) to HLA antigens can cause acute antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) after kidney transplantation (Txp). Therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) has been used for AMR treatment; however, DSA reduction rates are inconsistent. We investigated DSA reduction rates by HLA specificity and clinical outcome.


Sixty-four courses of TPE for 56 kidney Txp recipients with high DSA were investigated. Dates of TPE procedures and Txp, patients' age, sex, race, creatinine (Cr), and mean fluorescent intensity (MFI) of DSA were retrieved. MFI reduction rate after one to three TPE and four to six TPE procedures were calculated by HLA DSA specificity in each patient, and the mean reduction rates were compared. The relationship of TPE treatment, MFI or Cr improvement rate, and graft age was also investigated.


Patients received a mean 6.0 TPE procedures. Most received intravenous immunoglobulin after TPE and immunosuppressives. Forty-two cases (65.6%) had DSA to HLA Class I and 54 cases (84.4%) to Class II, including 32 cases (50.0%) to both. Mean MFI reduction rates after one to three TPE and four to six TPE procedures were 25.7 and 37.1% in HLA Class I, 25.1 and 34.2% in Class II, and 14.3 and 19.9% in DR51-53. The mean Cr improvements at the end of TPE and 3 and 6 months after TPE were 3.41, −0.37, and −0.72%, respectively.


Six TPE procedures decreased DSA more than three TPE procedures, but reduction rate was lower by the second three TPE procedures than the first three TPE procedures. Although the mean Cr improvement was minimal, the treatment has good potential to stop further deterioration of kidney function. Better Cr improvement rate is correlated with the graft age.

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