Post-Transplant Natural Antibodies Associate with Kidney Allograft Injury and Reduced Long-Term Survival

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2018 Jun;29(6):1761-1770. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2017111157. Epub 2018 Mar 30.


Background The development of antibodies specific to HLA expressed on donor tissue (donor-specific antibodies [DSAs]) is a prominent risk factor for kidney graft loss. Non-HLA antibodies with pathogenic potential have also been described, including natural antibodies (Nabs). These IgG Nabs bind to immunogenic self-determinants, including oxidation-related antigens.Methods To examine the relationship of Nabs with graft outcomes, we assessed Nabs in blinded serum specimens collected from a retrospective cohort of 635 patients who received a transplant between 2005 and 2010 at Necker Hospital in Paris, France. Serum samples were obtained immediately before transplant and at the time of biopsy-proven rejection within the first year or 1 year after transplant. Nabs were detected by ELISA through reactivity to the generic oxidized epitope malondialdehyde.Results Univariate Cox regression analysis identified the development of post-transplant Nabs (defined as 50% increase in reactivity to malondialdehyde) as a significant risk factor for graft loss (hazard ratio, 2.68; 95% confidence interval, 1.49 to 4.82; P=0.001). Post-transplant Nabs also correlated with increased mean Banff scores for histologic signs of graft injury in post-transplant biopsy specimens. Multivariable Cox analyses confirmed Nabs development as a risk factor independent from anti-HLA DSAs (hazard ratio, 2.07; 95% confidence interval, 1.03 to 4.17; P=0.04). Moreover, patients with Nabs and DSAs had a further increased risk of kidney graft loss.Conclusions These findings reveal an association between Nabs, kidney graft injury, and eventual graft failure, suggesting the involvement of Nabs in immune mechanisms of rejection.

Keywords: DSA; natural antibodies; natural polyreactive antibodies; non-HLA antibodies; oxidation-specific epitopes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allografts / immunology
  • Allografts / pathology*
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / blood*
  • Graft Rejection / pathology*
  • Graft Survival*
  • HLA Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • HLA Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Malondialdehyde