Rationale & objectives: Posttransplantation membranous nephropathy (MN) represents a rare complication of kidney transplantation that can be classified as recurrent or de novo. The clinical, pathologic, and immunogenetic characteristics of posttransplantation MN and the differences between de novo and recurrent MN are not well understood.
Study design: Multicenter case series.
Setting & participants: We included 77 patients from 5 North American and European medical centers with post-kidney transplantation MN (27 de novo and 50 recurrent). Patients with MN in the native kidney who received kidney allografts but did not develop recurrent MN were used as nonrecurrent controls (n = 43). To improve understanding of posttransplantation MN, we compared de novo MN with recurrent MN and then contrasted recurrent MN with nonrecurrent controls.
Findings: Compared with recurrent MN, de novo MN was less likely to be classified as primary MN (OR, 0.04; P < 0.001) and had more concurrent antibody-mediated rejection (OR, 12.0; P < 0.001) and inferior allograft survival (HR for allograft failure, 3.2; P = 0.007). HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DR17 antigens were more common in recipients with recurrent MN compared with those with de novo MN; however, the frequency of these recipient antigens in recurrent MN was similar to that in nonrecurrent MN controls. Among the 93 kidney transplant recipients with native kidney failure attributed to MN, older recipient age (HR per each year older, 1.03; P = 0.02), recipient HLA-A3 antigen (HR, 2.5; P = 0.003), steroid-free immunosuppressive regimens (HR, 2.84; P < 0.001), and living related allograft (HR, 1.94; P = 0.03) were predictors of MN recurrence.
Limitations: Retrospective case series, limited sample size due to rarity of the disease, nonstandardized nature of data collection and biopsies.
Conclusions: De novo and recurrent MN likely represent separate diseases. De novo MN is associated with humoral alloimmunity and guarded outcome. Potential predisposing factors for recurrent MN include recipients who are older, recipient HLA-A3 antigen, steroid-free immunosuppressive regimen, and living related donor kidney.
Keywords: HLA; HLA-A3; Membranous nephropathy (MN); allograft; allograft biopsy; allograft survival; antibody-mediated rejection (AMR); case series; de novo glomerulonephritis; humoral alloimmunity; pathology; phospholipase A(2) receptor (PLA(2)R); recurrent glomerulonephritis; renal transplantation; steroid-free immunosuppression.
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