Background: Recipient desensitization using blood group (BG)-specific immunoadsorption (ABO-IA) has proven to enable successful kidney transplantation across major ABO barriers. In this context, the efficiency of non-antigen-specific (semiselective) IA adsorbers has not yet been established. The objective of our study was to quantify anti-A/B antibody depletion by protein A-, peptide ligand- and anti-human immunoglobulin-based semiselective IA in comparison to ABO-IA.
Methods: Eight ABO-IA-treated transplant candidates and 39 patients subjected to semiselective IA for a variety of different indications outside the context of ABO-incompatible transplantation were included. Antibody patterns (IgG, IgG1-4 subclasses, IgM, C4d-fixing reactivities) were analysed applying conventional agglutination testing and flow cytometry.
Results: As assessed by sensitive flow cytometric antibody detection, ABO-IA-based desensitization led to a profound even though often incomplete reduction of anti-A/B reactivities. Persistent complement- or non-complement-fixing reactivities, however, were not associated with transplant rejection or capillary C4d deposition. Single sessions of semiselective IA turned out to be more effective than ABO-IA in decreasing levels of anti-A/B IgG [median reduction to 28 versus 59% (ABO-IA) of baseline values, P < 0.001). In contrast, BG-specific IgM (74 versus 30%, P < 0.001) and IgG3 (72 versus 42%, P < 0.05) were reduced to a lesser extent, without differences between tested adsorber types. Analysis of four consecutive IA sessions revealed that inferior efficiency could not be overcome by serial treatment.
Conclusion: Our observation of limited adsorption capacities regarding distinct BG-specific Ig (sub)classes suggests caution in applying semiselective IA techniques in ABO-incompatible kidney transplantation.