C1q-binding ability may indicate the clinical relevance of de novo donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies (DSA). This study investigated the incidence and risk factors for the appearance of C1q-binding de novo DSA and their long-term impact. Using Luminex Single Antigen Flow Bead assays, 346 pretransplant nonsensitized kidney recipients were screened at 2 and 5 years after transplantation for de novo DSA, which was followed when positive by a C1q Luminex assay. At 2 and 5 years, 12 (3.5%) and eight (2.5%) patients, respectively, had C1q-binding de novo DSA. De novo DSA mean fluorescence intensity >6237 and >10,000 at 2 and 5 years, respectively, predicted C1q binding. HLA mismatches and cyclosporine A were independently associated with increased risk of C1q-binding de novo DSA. When de novo DSA were analyzed at 2 years, the 5-year death-censored graft survival was similar between patients with C1q-nonbinding de novo DSA and those without de novo DSA, but was lower for patients with C1q-binding de novo DSA (P=0.003). When de novo DSA were analyzed at 2 and 5 years, the 10-year death-censored graft survival was lower for patients with C1q-nonbinding de novo DSA detected at both 2 and 5 years (P<0.001) and for patients with C1q-binding de novo DSA (P=0.002) than for patients without de novo DSA. These results were partially confirmed in two validation cohorts. In conclusion, C1q-binding de novo DSA are associated with graft loss occurring quickly after their appearance. However, the long-term persistence of C1q-nonbinding de novo DSA could lead to lower graft survival.
Keywords: C1q; complement; de novo donor specific antibodies; graft survival; kidney transplantation.
Copyright © 2016 by the American Society of Nephrology.