Non-HLA antibody responses following solid organ transplantation have become increasingly emphasised, with several large clinical series suggesting that such responses contribute to late graft failure. Many of the responses described recognise both recipient and donor moieties of the target antigen and thus represent auto-, rather than allo-immunity. Within this rapidly evolving field, many questions remain unanswered: what triggers the response; how innate and adaptive humoral autoimmunity integrate; and most pressingly, how autoimmunity contributes to graft damage and its relationship to other effector mechanisms of graft rejection. This review summarises recent clinical and experimental studies of humoral autoimmunity in transplant rejection, and considers some of the answers to these questions.
Keywords: Allograft vasculopathy; Autoimmunity; Chronic rejection; Germinal centre; Natural antibody.
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