Antibodies (Abs) to donor HLA (donor-specific antibodies [DSA]) have been associated with transplant glomerulopathy (TG) following kidney transplantation (KTx). Immune responses to tissue-restricted self-antigens (self-Ags) have been proposed to play a role in chronic rejection. We determined whether KTx with TG have immune responses to self-Ags, Collagen-IV (Col-IV) and fibronectin (FN). DSA were determined by solid phase assay, Abs against Col-IV and FN by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and CD4+ T cells secreting interferon gamma (IFN-γ), IL-17 or IL-10 by ELISPOT. Development of Abs to self-Ags following KTx increased the risk for TG with an odds ratio of 22 (p-value = 0.001). Abs to self-Ags were IgG and IgM isotypes. Pretransplant Abs to self-Ags increased the risk of TG (22% vs. 10%, p < 0.05). Abs to self-Ags were identified frequently in KTx with DSA. TG patients demonstrated increased Col-IV and FN specific CD4+ T cells secreting IFN-γ and IL-17 with reduction in IL-10. We conclude that development of Abs to self-Ags is a risk factor and having both DSA and Abs to self-Ags increases the risk for TG. The increased frequency of self-Ag-specific IFN-γ and IL-17 cells with reduction in IL-10 demonstrate tolerance breakdown to self-Ags which we propose play a role in the pathogenesis of TG.
Keywords: Alloimmunity; Collagen-IV; autoimmunity; fibronectin; kidney transplantation; transplant glomerulopathy.
© Copyright 2014 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.