Non-HLA Antibodies in Hand Transplant Recipients Are Connected to Multiple Acute Rejection Episodes and Endothelial Activation

J Clin Med. 2022 Feb 4;11(3):833. doi: 10.3390/jcm11030833.


The role of anti-HLA antibodies in transplant rejection is well-known but the injury associated with non-HLA antibodies is now widely discussed. The aim of our study was to investigate a role of non-HLA antibodies in hand allografts rejection. The study was performed on six patients after hand transplantation. The control group consisted of: 12 kidney transplant recipients and 12 healthy volunteers. The following non-HLA antibodies were tested: antibody against angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R-Ab), antibody against endothelin-1 type-A-receptor (ETAR-Ab), antibody against protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR-1-Ab) and anti-VEGF-A antibody (VEGF-A-Ab). Chosen proinflammatory cytokines (Il-1, IL-6, IFNγ) were used to evaluate the post-transplant humoral response. Laboratory markers of endothelial activation (VEGF, sICAM, vWF) were used to assess potential vasculopathy. The patient with the highest number of acute rejections had both positive non-HLA antibodies: AT1R-Ab and ETAR-Ab. The same patient had the highest VEGF-A-Ab and very high PAR1-Ab. All patients after hand transplantation had high levels of laboratory markers of endothelial activation. The existence of non-HLA antibodies together with multiple acute rejections observed in patient after hand transplantation should stimulate to look for potential role of non-HLA antibodies in humoral injury in vascular composite allotransplantation.

Keywords: hand transplantation; non-HLA antibodies; rejection; vascularized composite allotransplantation; vasculopathy.