Background: Antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) represents one of the cardinal causes of late allograft loss after kidney transplantation, and there is great need for noninvasive tools improving early diagnosis of this rejection type. One promising strategy might be the quantification of peripheral blood DNA levels of the highly prevalent and apathogenic Torque Teno virus (TTV), which might mirror the overall level of immunosuppression and thus help determine the risk of alloimmune response.
Methods: To assess the association between TTV load in the peripheral blood and AMR, 715 kidney transplant recipients (median, 6.3 years posttransplantation) were subjected to a systematical cross-sectional AMR screening and, in parallel, TTV quantification.
Results: Eighty-six of these recipients had donor-specific antibodies and underwent protocol biopsy, AMR-positive patients (n = 46) showed only 25% of the TTV levels measured in patients without AMR (P = 0.003). In a generalized linear model, higher TTV levels were associated with a decreased risk for AMR after adjustment for potential confounders (risk ratio 0.94 per TTV log level; 95% confidence interval 0.90-0.99; P = 0.02).
Conclusions: Future studies will have to clarify whether longitudinal assessment of TTV load might predict AMR risk and help guide the type and intensity of immunosuppression to prevent antibody-mediated graft injury.