Preliminary results of immunosuppression with thymoglobuline pretreatment and hepatitis C virus recurrence in liver transplantation

Transplant Proc. Jul-Aug 2005;37(6):2607-8. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2005.06.070.


Induction with thymoglobulin, a potent anti-thymocyte polyclonal antibody, has been recently reported to allow minimization of postoperative immunosuppression in organ transplantation. The relationship with recurrence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) after liver transplantation (LT) has never been investigated. We report herein on the outcome of 22 HCV+ patients receiving thymoglobulin pretreatment and minimal immunosuppression after liver transplantation. Patient survival and acute rejection rates were good, with remarkably low dosages and levels of immunosuppression achieved with thymoglobulin, and without exposing patients to an elevated risk of rejection. A progressive weaning of the primary immunosuppressant was also possible in the majority of patients without complications. The HCV recurrence rate was similar to that reported in the literature, although lower HCV RNA viral loads were obtained with thymoglobulin and a mild histologic course. Although our results need to be validated in large cohort studies, our experience shows that minimization of immunosuppression with thymoglobulin is effective to protect against rejection and demonstrated a positive impact on HCV recurrence that deserves further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Antilymphocyte Serum / therapeutic use*
  • Biopsy
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • Graft Rejection / pathology
  • Hepatitis C / immunology*
  • Hepatitis C / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Transplantation / immunology*
  • Liver Transplantation / mortality
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use
  • Viral Load


  • Antilymphocyte Serum
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • RNA, Viral
  • Tacrolimus