Impact of immunosuppressive medication on the risk of renal allograft failure due to recurrent glomerulonephritis

Am J Transplant. 2009 Apr;9(4):804-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2009.02554.x.


Recurrent glomerulonephritis is a major problem in kidney transplantation but the role of immunosuppression in preventing this complication is not known. We used data from the United States Renal Data System to examine the effect of immunosuppressive medication on allograft failure due to recurrent glomerulonephritis for 41,272 patients undergoing kidney transplantation from 1990 to 2003. Ten-year incidence of graft loss due to recurrent glomerulonephritis was 2.6% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.3-2.8%). After adjusting for important covariates, the use of cyclosporine, tacrolimus, azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, sirolimus or prednisone was not associated with graft failure due to recurrent glomerulonephritis. There was no difference between cyclosporine and tacrolimus or between azathioprine and mycophenolate mofetil in the risk of graft failure due to recurrent glomerulonephritis. However, any change in immunosuppression during follow-up was independently associated with graft loss due to recurrence (adjusted hazard ratio 1.30, 95% CI: 1.06-1.58, p = 0.01). In patients with a pretransplant diagnosis of glomerulonephritis, the risk of graft loss due to recurrence was not associated with any specific immunosuppressive medication. The selection of immunosuppression for kidney transplant recipients should not be made with the goal of reducing graft failure due to recurrent glomerulonephritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Azathioprine / adverse effects
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Cyclosporine / adverse effects
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Glomerulonephritis / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Male
  • Markov Chains
  • Middle Aged
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Mycophenolic Acid / adverse effects
  • Mycophenolic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Mycophenolic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Tacrolimus / adverse effects
  • Tacrolimus / therapeutic use
  • Transplantation, Homologous / immunology
  • Treatment Failure


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Mycophenolic Acid
  • Azathioprine
  • Tacrolimus