Pre-transplant screening focuses on the detection of anti-HLA alloantibodies. Previous studies have shown that IFN-γ and IL-21 producing T cells are associated with the development of acute rejection (AR). The aim of this study, was to assess whether pre-transplant donor-reactive T cells and/or B cells are associated with increased rejection risk. Samples from 114 kidney transplant recipients (transplanted between 2010 and 2013) were obtained pre-transplantation. The number of donor-reactive IFN-γ and IL-21 producing cells was analyzed by ELISPOT assay. The presence of donor specific antibodies (DSA) was also determined before transplantation. Numbers of donor-reactive IFN-γ producing cells were similar in patients with or without AR whereas those of IL-21 producing cells were higher in patients with AR (p = 0.03). Significantly more patients with AR [6/30(20%)] had detectable DSA compared to patients without AR [5/84(5.9%), p = 0.03]. Multivariate logistic regression showed that donor age (OR 1.06), pre-transplant DSA (OR 5.61) and positive IL-21 ELISPOT assay (OR 2.77) were independent predictors of an increased risk for the development of AR. Aside from an advanced donor-age and pre-transplant DSA, also pre-transplant donor-reactive IL-21 producing cells are associated with the development of AR after transplantation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding was provided by Erasmus Universitair Medisch Centrum Rotterdam (mRACE grant 2016).
© 2021, The Author(s).