Outcomes of Prolonged Treatment With Intravenous Immunoglobulin Infusions for Acute Antibody-mediated Rejection in Kidney Transplant Recipients

Transplant Proc. Jul-Aug 2018;50(6):1720-1725. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2018.02.110. Epub 2018 Mar 13.


Background: Treatment of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) is one of the main problems after kidney transplantation (KTx). The results of intensive AMR treatment with plasmapheresis (PF) and repeated infusions of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) are presented.

Methods: Diagnosis of AMR was based on graft biopsy and the presence of donor-specific antibodies (DSAs). AMR therapy consisted of 5 PF and IVIg infusions given after the last PF. Subsequent IVIg doses were given every 4 weeks for 6 months. Graft biopsy and DSA assessment were repeated at the end of the treatment (ET).

Results: Four women and 10 men were included in our study; mean time from KTx to AMR was 79 (range, 3-193) months. During the treatment, 4 patients had graft failure. Graft function at baseline was significantly worse (P = .02) in this group compared with patients who completed the therapy. At baseline, mean flourescence intensity (MFI) was 6574 (range, 852-15,917) in the whole group, 7088 (range, 1054-15,917) in patients who completed treatment, and 4828 (range, 852-11,797) in patients who restarted hemodialysis. At ET, DSA MFI decreased in 8 of 10 patients (80%) who completed the therapy. The MFI decrease was 3946 (range, 959-11,203). Control graft biopsies revealed decreased intensity of C4d deposits in peritubular capillaries in 7 patients (78%) and decreased peritubular capillaritis in 2 patients (22%).

Conclusion: Intensive, prolonged AMR therapy with PF and IVIg resulted in a decrease in DSA titer and intensity of C4d deposits, but was not associated with reduction of microcirculation inflammation. Treatment was ineffective in patients with baseline advanced graft insufficiency.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allografts / immunology
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / drug therapy*
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous / therapeutic use*
  • Isoantibodies / drug effects*
  • Isoantibodies / immunology
  • Kidney / immunology
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasmapheresis / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunoglobulins, Intravenous
  • Isoantibodies