In biopsies of renal allografts, arteriosclerosis is often more severe than expected based on the age of the donor, even without a history of rejection vasculitis. To determine whether preformed donor-specific antibodies (DSAs) may contribute to the severity of arteriosclerosis, we examined protocol biopsies from patients with (n=40) or without (n=59) DSA after excluding those with any evidence of vasculitis. Among DSA-positive patients, arteriosclerosis significantly progressed between month 3 and month 12 after transplant (mean Banff cv score 0.65 ± 0.11 to 1.12 ± 0.10, P=0.014); in contrast, among DSA-negative patients, we did not detect a statistically significant progression during the same timeframe (mean Banff cv score 0.65 ± 0.11 to 0.81 ± 0.10, P=not significant). Available biopsies at later time points supported a rate of progression of arteriosclerosis in DSA-negative patients that was approximately one third that in DSA-positive patients. Accelerated arteriosclerosis was significantly associated with peritubular capillary leukocytic infiltration, glomerulitis, subclinical antibody-mediated rejection, and interstitial inflammation. In conclusion, these data support the hypothesis that donor-specific antibodies dramatically accelerate post-transplant progression of arteriosclerosis.
Copyright © 2011 by the American Society of Nephrology