KIR/HLA ligand incompatibility in kidney transplantation

Transplantation. 2007 Dec 15;84(11):1527-33. doi: 10.1097/


Background: The polymorphic family of killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIRs) consists of activating and inhibitory receptors expressed by natural killer (NK) cells and effector T cells that recognize human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I ligands. It has been suggested that KIR/HLA incompatibility exerts beneficial effects in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Methods: To elucidate whether certain receptor-ligand combinations between recipient KIR and donor HLA antigens lead to enhanced alloreactivity of NK cells associated with acute rejection (aRx) after kidney transplantation, we analyzed the entirety of matches/mismatches between KIR genes and known HLA ligands for aRx patients (n=105) compared to patients with stable renal function (n=119).

Results: Whereas HLA-C ligand incompatibility between donor and recipient has no influence on aRx, grafts derived from donors homozygous for HLA-C group 2 alleles seem to demonstrate a better outcome (P=0.052). Additionally, a higher number of inhibitory receptors in the recipient's genotype (P=0.042), a significant higher number of matches for the receptors KIR2DL2/DS2 (P=0.004), as well as a higher number of mismatches for KIR2DL3 (P=0.014) could be observed for patients with stable renal function.

Conclusion: Our data illustrate that certain KIR/HLA class I ligand combinations between donor and recipient might influence graft short-term outcome after renal transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Graft Rejection / genetics
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • HLA Antigens / genetics
  • HLA Antigens / immunology*
  • Histocompatibility / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Ligands
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / immunology*


  • HLA Antigens
  • Ligands
  • GEM protein, human
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins