Introduction: Because it is well known that kidney transplant recipients with preformed lymphocytotoxic antibodies against HLA antigens have increased graft rejection rates, a serological crossmatch is routinely performed before kidney transplantation. But, the presence of these antibodies is not routinely monitored after transplantation. We investigated the panel-reactive antibody (PRA) response to know whether variations before or after kidney transplantation were associated with graft rejection.
Methods: We prospectively analyzed sera from 350 renal allograft recipients from September 1998 to March 2003. Pretransplantation and posttransplantation sera at 3 or 5 weeks postoperatively were tested in PRA. Recipients were stratified into 3 groups according to their PRA levels group I, PRA = 0; group II, PRA = less than 50%, and group III, PRA = more than 50%.
Results: The total graft rejection rate among 350 recipients was 9.4% (n = 33). Twenty-four pretransplantation PRA-positive recipients had a graft rejection rate of 20.8% (n = 5), compared with an 8.6% (n = 28) rate among 326 pretransplantation PRA-negative recipients. Six of 24 posttransplantation PRA-positive recipients (25%) experienced a graft rejection versus 27 (8.3%) of 326 posttransplantation PRA-negative subjects. Among the pretransplantation PRA stratae, the rejection rate in group III was 25% (1 of 4) versus 20% (4 of 20) in group II and 8.6% (28 of 326) in group I (P < .05). According to the postransplantation PRA level, 37.5% (3 of 8) in group III versus 18.8% (3 of 16) in group II and 8.3% (27 of 326) in group I (P < .05) had a graft rejection.
Conclusion: Our study suggests that the PRA response pretransplantation and in the early posttransplantation period correlates with the kidney allograft rejection rate.