Sequential antilymphoblast globulin and cyclosporine for renal transplantation

Transplantation. 1987 Jan;43(1):85-90. doi: 10.1097/00007890-198701000-00019.


The nephrotoxic effects of cyclosporine (CsA) seem to be augmented by co-existing renal injury. A high rate of prolonged delayed function (acute tubular necrosis [ATN]) and non-function (NF) has been associated with the use of CsA prior to and following renal transplantation. Cyclosporine has also been associated with a slower recovery of allograft function and poor baseline renal function even in allografts that function immediately compared with conventionally treated recipients. In 1983 we hypothesized that the rate of ATN and NF following renal transplantation could be decreased and more normal kidney function achieved if renal injury was resolved before adding the nephrotoxic effects of CsA. A group of 300 nonsplenectomized, uremic recipients have received 304 renal transplants and have been initially immunosuppressed with azathioprine, prednisone, and Minnesota antilymphoblast globulin (ALG) prior to starting maintenance CsA and prednisone. The incidence of NF has been 1.9% and the development of ATN has been 7.6% following transplantation with sequential use of ALG and CsA. Other benefits to the renal recipient have also occurred with use of this immunotherapy protocol. Renal allograft survival for recipients of first, second, and third renal allografts has been higher than that generally reported with cyclosporine and prednisone alone. Rejection episodes have been infrequent during the first six months posttransplant, as 75% and 62% of first and second renal allograft recipients have remained rejection-free. Clinically significant infectious complications were infrequent. No cadaver recipient has developed a lymphoma. Moreover, the initial hospitalization following transplantation with sequential ALG/CsA has been short and generally uncomplicated. We conclude that sequential ALG/CsA following renal transplantation provides excellent early posttransplant immunosuppression while avoiding the nephrotoxic effects of CsA and also provides the steroid and infection-sparing benefits derived from maintenance CsA therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Adult
  • Antilymphocyte Serum / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Transfusion
  • Cyclosporins / therapeutic use*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic
  • Graft Rejection
  • Graft Survival
  • HLA Antigens / immunology
  • HLA-DR Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / immunology
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Opportunistic Infections / etiology
  • Time Factors
  • Uremia / therapy*


  • Antilymphocyte Serum
  • Cyclosporins
  • HLA Antigens
  • HLA-DR Antigens