Background: Second kidney transplantations have a roughly similar clinical outcome to first transplantations. Nevertheless, the effect of the presence of the first, nonfunctional transplant at the time of the second transplantation may also influence its outcome and has not yet been specifically studied.
Methods: We analyzed the effect of the presence of a first graft on the outcome of a second graft in a rodent allograft model and in a cohort of 240 human second kidney allograft recipients.
Results: In rodents, 100 days subsequent to the rejection of the first graft, we observed an increase in blood but not spleen CD4(+)CD25(+) T cells, whereas no differences were observed in transcriptional patterns. Adoptive transfer of day 100 splenocytes did not prolong graft survival. Moreover, the presence of a first rejected graft does not prolong the survival of a second graft performed at a later date. In the human context, a higher incidence of patients with anti-HLA immunization and a higher % of PRA were observed in retransplant recipients with primary allograft nephrectomy. Despite a relatively low statistical power, our data do not suggest significant differences in graft outcome between recipients of second transplants with primary allograft nephrectomy and those without.
Conclusion: Collectively, the data from both an experimental model and a large cohort of human recipients of a second graft do not suggest a beneficial effect of the presence of a first rejected graft at the time of a second transplantation.