Background: The quality of a damaged kidney, the complexity of the surgery, and the events in the first weeks after transplantation, such as delayed graft function (DGF) and acute rejection, may influence its histological appearance and long-term survival. The aim of this study was to evaluate the importance of these factors in predicting renal allograft histology at 3 months.
Methods: Prospective, protocol kidney biopsy specimens (n=112), obtained 3 months after transplantation, were scored for chronic damage by the Banff schema and evaluated by multivariate analysis against donor factors, implantation histology, prior recipient sensitization, ischemia, perioperative factors, and subsequent clinical events, such as DGF and acute rejection.
Results: Adequate samples were obtained in 102 of 112 biopsies and classified as chronic Banff grade 0 (n=22), grade I (n=56), grade II (n=23), or grade III (n=1). Acute Banff scores were minimal. DGF occurred in 49% and was the strongest predictor of tubulointerstitial damage at 3 months. DGF correlated with acute tubular necrosis on the implantation biopsy specimen and with the number of acute rejection episodes; DGF also correlated with the Banff grades of chronic glomerulitis, chronic interstitial fibrosis, and tubular atrophy scores (P<0.05-0.001) in the 3-month biopsy specimen. By multivariate analysis, chronic tubular atrophy was independently predicted by the presence of vascular disease in the donor biopsy specimen, DGF, and vascular rejection occurring within the first 3 months (P<0.05-0.001). Chronic interstitial fibrosis was unrelated to fibrosis in the donor biopsy specimen but was independently predicted by DGF, donor age, and vascular rejection (P<0.05-0.001). Vascular disease in the donor biopsy specimen correlated with chronic intimal thickening (r=0.36, P<0.01) and arteriolar hyalinosis score (r=0.54, P<0.001) on the 3-month biopsy specimen. Banff chronic intimal vascular thickening was independently predicted by donor biopsy specimen vascular grade, prior vascular rejection episodes, and renal cold ischemia time (P<0.05-0.01). There were no correlates with the mean cyclosporine (CsA) dose, blood levels, diagnosis of CsA toxicity, or cellular rejection within the first 3 months.
Conclusions: This study has demonstrated that the quality of the donor organ at implantation was strongly predictive of subsequent renal histology in grafts functioning at 3 months. Vascular rejection and DGF had a significant long-term effect on graft damage, but cellular rejection and simple measures of CsA exposure did not.