We aimed to determine the prevalence and clinical significance of complement-binding donor-specific antibodies (DSA) detected up to 30 years after kidney transplantation. Group 1 patients included 284 consecutive DSA negative patients who underwent kidney transplantation after 1 May 2009. Group 2 included 405 patients transplanted before this date and followed at our center with functioning allografts. DSA were tested using Luminex Single Antigen and the C1q assay. In Group 1 patients, who were monitored prospectively, 31 (11%) developed de novo DSA during a median follow-up of 2.5 (1.9, 3.6) years. Of these, 11 (4%) had C1q+ and 20 (7%) had C1q negative DSA. In Group 2 patients, 77 (19%) displayed DSA. Among these, 33 (8%) had C1q+ and 44 (11%) had C1q negative DSA. The incidence of acute antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) was significantly higher in C1q+DSA patients in both Group 1 (45%) and Group 2 (15%) compared with C1q negative DSA (5% and 2%) and DSA negative patients (1% and 3%; P < 0.001 and P = 0.001). The incidence of chronic AMR was 36% (Group 1) and 51% (Group 2) in patients with C1q+DSA. In contrast, chronic AMR occurred in 5% and 25% of C1q negative DSA, and 2% and 6% of DSA negative Group 1 and 2 patients, respectively (P < 0.001). Although the graft survival was lower in Group 1 C1q+DSA patients (73%) compared with C1q negative DSA (95%) and DSA negative (94%) patients, the difference was not statistically significant by Kaplan-Meier survival analysis (P = 0.21). Our results indicated that the presence of C1q+ DSA was associated with acute and chronic AMR.
Keywords: acute rejection; chronic allograft nephropathy; transplantation.
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