Purpose of review: Immunological factors are a major cause of kidney allograft loss. Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) have improved short-term kidney allograft survival; however, they in turn contribute to long-term kidney allograft loss from chronic CNI nephrotoxicity. Tolerance induction in transplantation can avoid the long-term adverse effects of immunosuppressive medications. This review aims to critically discuss recent efforts in inducing transplantation tolerance.
Recent findings: Tolerance induction mediated by chimerism has shown some promise in minimizing or even complete withdrawal of immunosuppressive treatments in kidney allograft recipients. There has been a number of approaches as varied as the number of centres conducting these trials. However, they can be grouped into those mediated by transient microchimerism and those facilitated by more stable macro or full donor chimerism. The success rates in terms of long-term drug-free graft survival has been limited in microchimerism-mediated tolerance induction approaches. Mixed macrochimerism of less than 50% donor may be unstable with mostly the recipient's native immune system overpowering the donor chimeric status.Tolerance induction leading to chimerism has been limited to living donor kidney transplantation and additional long-term outcomes are required. Furthermore, immune monitoring after tolerance induction has faced a limitation in studying due to a lack of sufficient study participants and appropriate study controls.
Summary: Tolerance induction is one of several strategies used to prolong kidney allograft survival, but it has not been routinely utilized in clinical practice. However, future applications from the trials to clinical practice remain limited to living donor kidney transplantation. Once further data regarding tolerance inductions exist and practicality becomes widely accepted, tolerance induction may shift the paradigm in the field of kidney transplantation to achieve the best possible outcome of 'One Organ for Life'.