Association of C1q-fixing DSA with late graft failure in pediatric renal transplant recipients

Pediatr Nephrol. 2016 Jul;31(7):1157-66. doi: 10.1007/s00467-016-3322-8. Epub 2016 Feb 29.


Background: We investigated the prognostic value of overall and complement-binding donor-specific HLA antibodies (DSA) in pediatric patients undergoing clinically indicated graft biopsies and their association with graft outcome and specific histological lesions.

Methods: Sera of 62 patients at time of indication biopsy ≥1 year posttransplant were assessed for DSA and C1q-fixing DSA by single-antigen bead (SAB) technology.

Results: Twenty-six patients (42 %) were DSA-positive at time of indication biopsy and nine (15 %) were C1q-positive. At 4 years postbiopsy, patients with C1q-positivity had a low graft survival (11 %) compared to DSA-positive, C1q-negative patients (82 %, p = 0.001) and to DSA-negative patients (88 %, p < 0.001). The majority (89 %) of C1q-positive patients were diagnosed with active chronic antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR). C1q DSA-positivity [adjusted hazard ratio (HR) 6.35], presence of transplant glomerulopathy (HR 9.54), and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) at the time of indication biopsy (HR 0.91) were risk factors for subsequent graft loss.

Conclusions: The presence of C1q-positive DSA in the context of an indication biopsy identifies a subgroup of pediatric renal transplant recipients with a markedly increased risk of subsequent graft loss. Because a fraction of DSA-positive patients escape rejection or graft dysfunction, the C1q assay increases the specificity of a positive DSA result regarding unfavorable transplant outcome.

Keywords: C1q-binding donor-specific antibodies; Donor-specific antibodies; Graft failure; Indication biopsy; Pediatrics; Renal transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies / immunology*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Complement Activation / immunology*
  • Complement C1q / immunology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / immunology*
  • HLA Antigens / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transplant Recipients


  • Antibodies
  • HLA Antigens
  • Complement C1q