Histological alterations in implant and one-year protocol biopsy specimens of renal allografts

Transplantation. 2001 Sep 27;72(6):1138-44. doi: 10.1097/00007890-200109270-00026.


Background: The natural course of histological changes and their correlations with clinical parameters have not been studied in large numbers in renal allograft specimens. The aim of this study was to determine whether any histological alterations developed during the first posttransplantation year. Immunological and nonimmunological factors possibly associated with subsequent histopathological changes and development of chronic rejection were also assessed.

Methods: We studied 102 cadaveric kidney allografts for which both implant and 1-year protocol biopsy specimens were available. The chronic allograft damage index (CADI) was used to quantify the extent of histological changes that developed during the first year.

Results: Overall, an increase in histological alterations were seen during the first posttransplantation year, and the CADI increased significantly. The mean CADI was 0.7 in relation to implant biopsy samples and 2.9 in relation to 1-year biopsy samples (P<0.05). Although the degree of changes increased during the first posttransplantation year, they were seldom severe. Significant increases in incidences of interstitial inflammation and fibrosis, tubular atrophy, and basement-membrane thickening were seen. Vascular intimal proliferation and glomerular mesangial matrix increase and glomerular sclerosis were also noted. In contrast, anisometric vacuolization in the tubular epithelium decreased significantly in incidence during the first year. CADI values 1 year after transplantation were significantly affected by donor age, occurrence of acute rejection episodes, and prevalence of HLA-DR mismatches. CADIs were also significantly higher in grafts with decreased function.

Conclusions: Histopathological alterations increased in almost every graft, even well-functioning grafts, during the first year. The CADIs relating to alterations seen in cases of chronic rejection increased significantly and were strongly affected by both immunological and nonimmunological factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Graft Rejection / physiopathology
  • HLA-DR Antigens / analysis
  • Histocompatibility
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney Transplantation* / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors
  • Transplantation, Homologous


  • HLA-DR Antigens