Recurrent IgA nephropathy in renal transplant allografts

Am J Kidney Dis. 2001 Sep;38(3):588-96. doi: 10.1053/ajkd.2001.26885.


Previous reports of renal transplantation for patients with underlying immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy suggested a recurrence rate greater than 50% for transplant IgA nephropathy. Initially regarded as a benign condition, more recent data showed that recurrent transplant IgA nephropathy may be a significant contributor to graft loss. We performed a retrospective analysis in a single center of 48 kidney transplant recipients, all of Chinese origin, with biopsy-proven IgA nephropathy as the cause of end-stage renal failure to determine the recurrence rate of IgA nephropathy in the transplant allograft and subsequent clinical course in Chinese patients. Median duration of follow-up was 52 months (range, 18 to 155 months). Fourteen patients (29%) had biopsy-confirmed recurrent transplant IgA nephropathy after a median of 52 months (interquartile range, 23 to 82 months) posttransplantation. Recurrent transplant IgA nephropathy was associated with greater serum IgA levels (P = 0.01). The presence of HLA-A2 in transplant recipients (P = 0.002) appeared to protect them from developing recurrent IgA nephropathy in the transplant allograft. Twenty-nine percent of patients with recurrent transplant IgA nephropathy had progressive deterioration of graft function. The progressive graft dysfunction (GD) rate was greater in patients with a transplant from a living related donor (LRD; 21%) compared with those with a transplant from a cadaveric or living unrelated donor (URD; 3%; P = 0.062). Although the cumulative graft survival rate was 100% at 5 years for transplants from both LRDs and URDs, the 10-year graft survival rate was only 63% for a graft from an LRD versus 93% for a URD (log-rank test, P = 0.19). A review of other reported series of recurrent transplant IgA nephropathy also showed an apparently greater incidence of GD for a graft from an LRD (28%) compared with a URD (15%). Our data suggest that although recurrent transplant IgA nephropathy is highly prevalent among the Chinese population, the risk for disease recurrence is not particularly increased compared with other ethnic groups. The trend toward a greater risk for GD for living related compared with unrelated allografts in patients with IgA nephropathy needs to be confirmed with further prospective study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biopsy
  • China / ethnology
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA / complications
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA / immunology
  • Glomerulonephritis, IGA / pathology*
  • Graft Survival
  • Histocompatibility
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology
  • Kidney Transplantation / pathology*
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • Biomarkers
  • Creatinine