Background: The shortage of deceased donors led to an increase of living donor kidney (LDK) transplantations performed in the presence of donor-specific antibodies (DSA) or ABO incompatibility (ABOi) using various desensitization protocols.
Methods: We herein analyzed 26 ABOi and 8 Luminex positive DSA patients who were successfully desensitized by anti-CD20, antigen-specific immunoadsorption and/or plasmapheresis to receive an LDK transplant. Twenty LDK recipients with non-donor-specific HLA-antibodies (low risk) and 32 without anti-HLA antibodies (no risk) served as control groups.
Results: 1-year graft survival rate and renal function was similar in all 4 groups (creatinine: 1.63 ± 0.5 vs 1.78 ± 0.6 vs 1.64 ± 0.5 vs 1.6 ± 0.3 mg/dl in ABOi, DSA, low risk and no risk group). The incidence of acute T-cell mediated rejections did not differ between the 4 groups (15% vs 12, 5% vs 15% vs 22% in ABOi, DSA, low risk and no risk), while antibody-mediated rejections were only found in the DSA (25%) and ABOi (7.5%) groups. Incidence of BK nephropathy (BKVN) was significantly more frequent after desensitization as compared to controls (5/34 vs 0/52, p = 0.03).
Conclusion: We demonstrate favorable short-term allograft outcome in LDK transplant recipients after desensitization. However, the desensitization was associated with an increased risk of BKVN.