Saturday, November 30, 2013

HLA-A2, HLA-B44 and HLA-DR15 are associated with lower risk of BK viremia

Background : Human leucocyte antigens (HLAs) modulate immunity to polyomavirus BK (BKV). Identification of HLAs that alter the course of infection will facilitate risk stratification, and customization of pre-emptive intervention strategies.
Methods : We performed a retrospective cohort study with 998 kidney transplant patients with BKV infection status confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Clinical parameters and donor–recipient matching for specific HLAs were examined in relation to occurrence of viremia. An emphasis was placed on donor–recipient matching rather than the actual frequency of specific HLA-alleles, since a successful immune response requires sharing of HLAs between a virus-infected target cell and the anti-viral effector cell.
Results : Using multivariate statistics, low risk of BK viremia was associated with matching of HLA-A2 [hazard ratio (HR) 0.51, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.28–0.85], HLA-B44 (HR 0.31, 95% CI 0.076–0.85) and HLA-DR15 (HR 0.35, 95% CI 0.084–0.93) (P < 0.05), whereas high risk of viremia was associated with male gender (HR 2.38, 95% CI 1.46–4.09, P < 0.001).
Conclusions : HLAs that associated with a lower predisposition to the development of BK viremia have been identified. Evaluation of donor–recipient mismatching for these HLAs could potentially be used to (i) fine tune virus screening strategies for BKV in individual patients and (ii) facilitate discovery of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and II binding peptides that can elicit clinically meaningful BKV-specific immunity (read more)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Human autoimmunity after lymphocyte depletion is caused by homeostatic T-cell proliferation

The association between lymphopenia and autoimmunity is recognized, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood and have not been studied systematically in humans. People with multiple sclerosis treated with the lymphocyte-depleting monoclonal antibody alemtuzumab offer a unique opportunity to study this phenomenon; one in three people develops clinical autoimmunity, and one in three people develops asymptomatic autoantibodies after treatment. Here, we show that T-cell recovery after alemtuzumab is driven by homeostatic proliferation, leading to the generation of chronically activated (CD28(-)CD57(+)), highly proliferative (Ki67(+)), oligoclonal, memory-like CD4 and CD8 T cells (CCR7(-)CD45RA(-) or CCR7(-)CD45RA(+)) capable of producing proinflammatory cytokines. Individuals who develop autoimmunity after treatment are no more lymphopenic than their nonautoimmune counterparts, but they show reduced thymopoiesis and generate a more restricted T-cell repertoire. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that homeostatic proliferation drives lymphopenia-associated autoimmunity in humans (read more)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Prospective assessment of antidonor cellular alloreactivity is a tool for guidance of immunosuppression in kidney transplantation

Current characterization of the immune risk in renal transplant patients is only focused on the assessment of preformed circulating alloantibodies; however, alloreactive memory T cells are key players in mediating allograft rejection. Immune monitoring of antidonor alloreactive memory/effector T cells using an IFN-γ Elispot has been shown to distinguish patients at risk for immune-mediated graft dysfunction, suggesting a potential tool for immunosuppression individualization. In this nonrandomized study, we prospectively assessed donor and nondonor T-cell alloreactivity in 60 highly alloreactive patients receiving calcineurin inhibitor-based immunosuppression and in non-T-cell alloreactive transplant recipients treated with a calcineurin inhibitor-free regimen. The impact was evaluated using 1-year allograft outcome. We found a strong association between ongoing antidonor T-cell alloreactivity and histological lesions of acute T cell–mediated rejection in 6-month protocol biopsies, distinguishing those patients with better 1-year graft function, regardless of immunosuppression regimen. Interestingly, evidence for enhanced immune regulation, driven by circulating Foxp3-demethylated regulatory T cells, was only observed among patients achieving antidonor T-cell hyporesponsiveness. Thus, prospective evaluation of donor-specific T-cell sensitization may add crucial information on the alloimmune state of transplanted patients to be used in daily clinical practice (read more and editorial).

Polyomavirus BK Viremia in Kidney Transplant Recipients After Desensitization With IVIG and Rituximab

BACKGROUND: Desensitization with intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) and rituximab improves transplantation rates. It is unclear if desensitization increases the risk of polyomavirus BK (BKV) viremia. Here, BKV viremia in HLA-sensitized patients after desensitization with IVIG and rituximab was analyzed.
METHODS: Baseline characteristics and outcomes were compared in the desensitized group (N=187) and the non-desensitized group (N=284). Surveillance for BKV viremia was done at 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months posttransplant. Univariable and multivariable analyses were performed.
RESULTS: BKV viremia was observed in 20% of the desensitized and 10% of the non-desensitized (P<0.001) groups by 2 years posttransplant. The desensitized group had more lymphocyte depleting induction and more rejection. They also had a greater degree of viremia with more patients having a peak viral load greater than 10,000 copies per milliliter (P<0.001). However, there was no significant difference in BKV-associated nephropathy or graft loss in the two groups. There was an association of BKV viremia with desensitization and lymphocyte induction. Only desensitization remained a significant predictor in the multivariable model with an adjusted HR of 2.13 (95% CI 1.21-3.77, P=0.009).
CONCLUSIONS: Desensitization with IVIG and rituximab is associated with a higher incidence of BKV viremia with high viral copies and was the major predictor of BKV viremia in the multivariable model. More frequent surveillance for BKV viremia and an early, aggressive treatment strategy are essential for preventing high BKV viral loads in this patient population (read more)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Profiling Antibodies to Class II HLA in Transplant Patient Sera

Immunizing events including pregnancy, transfusions, and transplantation promote strong alloantibody responses to HLA. Such alloantibodies to HLA preclude organ transplantation, foster hyperacute rejection, and contribute to chronic transplant failure. Diagnostic antibody-screening assays detect alloreactive antibodies, yet key attributes including antibody concentration and isotype remain largely unexplored. The goal here was to provide a detailed profile of allogeneic antibodies to class II HLA. Methodologically, alloantibodies were purified from sensitized patient sera using an HLA-DR11 immunoaffinity column and subsequently categorized. Antibodies to DR11 were found to fix complement, exist at a median serum concentration of 2.3 μg/mL, consist of all isotypes, and isotypes IgG2, IgM, & IgE were elevated. Because multimeric isotypes can confound diagnostic determinations of antibody concentration, IgM and IgA isotypes were removed and DR11-IgG tested alone. Despite removal of multimeric isotypes, patient-to-patient antibody concentrations did not correlate with MFI values. In conclusion, allogeneic antibody responses to DR11 are comprised of all antibody isotypes at differing proportions, these combined isotypes fix complement at nominal serum concentrations, and enhancements other than the removal of IgM & IgA multimeric isotypes may be required if MFI is to be used as a means of determining anti-HLA serum antibody concentrations in diagnostic clinical assays (read more)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Amino acid substitution at peptide-binding pockets of HLA class I molecules increases risk of severe acute GVHD and mortality

HLA disparity has a negative impact on the outcomes of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). We studied the independent impact of amino acid substitution (AAS) at peptide-binding positions 9, 99, 116, and 156, and killer immunoglobulin-like receptor binding position 77 of HLA-A, B, or C, on the risks for grade 3-4 acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), chronic GVHD, treatment-related mortality (TRM), relapse, and overall survival. In multivariate analysis, a mismatch at HLA-C position 116 was associated with increased risk for severe acute GVHD (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.15-1.82, P = .0016). Mismatch at HLA-C position 99 was associated with increased transplant-related mortality (HR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.1-1.69, P = .0038). Mismatch at HLA-B position 9 was associated with increased chronic GVHD (HR = 2.28, 95% CI = 1.36-3.82, P = .0018). No AAS were significantly associated with outcome at HLA-A. Specific AAS pair combinations with a frequency >30 were tested for association with HCT outcomes. Cysteine to tyrosine substitution at position 99 of HLA-C was associated with increased TRM (HR = 1.78, 95% = CI 1.27-2.51, P = .0009). These results demonstrate that donor-recipient mismatch for certain peptide-binding residues of the HLA class I molecule is associated with increased risk for acute and chronic GVHD and death (read more)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Kinetics of Homeostatic Proliferation and Thymopoiesis after rATG Induction Therapy in Kidney Transplant Patients

Background : Lymphocyte-depleting therapy is associated with long-lasting effects on repopulated T cells and subsequent increased rates of infections and malignancies. The mechanisms of T-cell repopulation and their posttransplantation kinetics are not fully understood.
Methods : We studied thymopoiesis by CD31+ naïve T cells (recent thymic emigrants) and homeostatic proliferation by Ki-67+ T cells in rabbit antithymocyte globulin (rATG)–treated patients the first 6 months after transplantation. Patients receiving basiliximab or no induction therapy served as controls.
Results : At 6 months after transplantation, T-cell numbers were lower than before transplantation in rATG-treated patients, whereas T-cell numbers remained stable in both control groups. In this time period, thymopoiesis was similar between the three treatment groups; CD8+ T cells showed the highest percentage of recent thymic emigrants. At month 1, percentages of Ki-67+ naïve and memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were the highest in rATG-treated patients, but these percentages declined in the months thereafter. When CD31 was used to distinguish between cytokine- and antigen-driven proliferation in naïve T cells, we found evidence for cytokine-dependent proliferation. Cytokine-dependent proliferation was also shown by in vivo increased percentages of phosphorylated STAT5 and high expression levels of the interleukin-7 receptor-α and interleukin-15 receptor-α by T cells.
Conclusion : These findings demonstrate that, in the first month after rATG therapy, cytokine-induced homeostatic proliferation is involved in T-cell repopulation of both naïve and memory T cells. At later time points, the contribution of homeostatic proliferation diminished, which explains the observed incomplete T-cell recovery (read more)

Defining Delayed Graft Function after Renal Transplantation: Simplest Is Best

Background : Delayed graft function (DGF) after renal transplantation can be diagnosed according to several different definitions, complicating comparison between studies that use DGF as an endpoint. This is a particular problem after transplantation with kidneys from donation after circulatory death (DCD) kidneys, because DGF is common, and its relationship to early graft failure may differ depending on the definition of DGF.
Methods : The presence of DGF in 213 donation after brain death (DBD) and 312 DCD kidney transplants from October 2005 to August 2011 was determined according to 10 different, but widely used, definitions (based on dialysis requirements, creatinine changes, or both). The relationship of DGF to graft function and graft survival was determined. ResultsThe incidence of DGF varied widely depending on the definition used (DBD; 24%–70%: DCD; 41%–91%). For kidneys from DCD donors, development of DGF was only associated with poorer 1-year estimated glomerular filtration rate for 1 of 10 definitions of DGF, and no definition of DGF was associated with impaired graft survival. Conversely, for DBD kidneys, DGF, as defined in 9 of 10 different ways, was associated with poorer 1-year estimated glomerular filtration rate and inferior graft survival. Importantly, the predictive power for poorer transplant outcome was comparable for all definitions of DGF.
Conclusion : No definition of DGF is superior. We suggest that the most widely used and most easily calculated definition—the use of dialysis in the first postoperative week—should be universally adopted as the definition of DGF clinically and as a study endpoint (read more)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Binding of TAPBPR and Tapasin to MHC Class I Is Mutually Exclusive

The loading of peptide Ags onto MHC class I molecules is a highly controlled process in which the MHC class I–dedicated chaperone tapasin is a key player. We recently identified a tapasin-related molecule, TAPBPR, as an additional component in the MHC class I Ag-presentation pathway. In this study, we show that the amino acid residues important for tapasin to interact with MHC class I are highly conserved on TAPBPR. We identify specific residues in the N-terminal and C-terminal domains of TAPBPR involved in associating with MHC class I. Furthermore, we demonstrate that residues on MHC class I crucial for its association with tapasin, such as T134, are also essential for its interaction with TAPBPR. Taken together, the data indicate that TAPBPR and tapasin bind in a similar orientation to the same face of MHC class I. In the absence of tapasin, the association of MHC class I with TAPBPR is increased. However, in the absence of TAPBPR, the interaction between MHC class I and tapasin does not increase. In light of our findings, previous data determining the function of tapasin in the MHC class I Ag–processing and presentation pathway must be re-evaluated (read more)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Outcome of Kidney Transplantations Performed With Preformed Donor-Specific Antibodies of Unknown Etiology

The detection of preformed donor-specific alloantibodies (DSA) with multiplex-bead arrays has led to the common observation that individuals without a history of pregnancy, transfusion or transplantation can have circulating anti-HLA antibodies of unknown etiology. We retrospectively analyzed the risk of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) and graft outcome in 41 kidney transplant recipients with DSA of unknown etiology (DSA cause-unk) at the time of transplantation. Twenty-one patients received a posttransplantation desensitization protocol, and 20 received standard immunosuppressive therapy. The mean number of DSA was 1.4 ± 0.8, ranging from 1 to 5. Complement-dependent cytotoxicity crossmatches were negative for all the patients. Flow cytometry crossmatches were positive in 47.6% of cases. The incidence of acute AMR was 14.6% at 1 year, regardless of the immunosuppressive regimen. No patients experienced graft loss following AMR. At month 12, across the entire population of patients with DSA cause-unk, the outcomes were favorable: the measured glomerular filtration rate was 63.8 ± 16.4 mL/min/1.73 m2, the screening biopsies showed low frequencies of microvascular inflammation and no transplant glomerulopathy, and graft and patient survival were 100%. In conclusion, patients with DSA cause-unk are able to mount AMR but have favorable 1-year outcomes (read more)

Unique B Cell Differentiation Profile in Tolerant Kidney Transplant Patients

Operationally tolerant patients (TOL) display a higher number of blood B cells and transcriptional B cell signature. As they rarely develop an allo-immune response, they could display an abnormal B cell differentiation. We used an in vitro culture system to explore T-dependent differentiation of B cells into plasma cells. B cell phenotype, apoptosis, proliferation, cytokine, immunoglobulin production and markers of differentiation were followed in blood of these patients. Tolerant recipients show a higher frequency of CD20+CD24hiCD38hi transitional and CD20+CD38loCD24lo naïve B cells compared to patients with stable graft function, correlating with a decreased frequency of CD20−CD38+CD138+ differentiated plasma cells, suggestive of abnormal B cell differentiation. B cells from TOL proliferate normally but produce more IL-10. In addition, B cells from tolerant recipients exhibit a defective expression of factors of the end step of differentiation into plasma cells and show a higher propensity for cell death apoptosis compared to patients with stable graft function. This in vitro profile is consistent with down-regulation of B cell differentiation genes and anti-apoptotic B cell genes in these patients in vivo. These data suggest that a balance between B cells producing IL-10 and a deficiency in plasma cells may encourage an environment favorable to the tolerance maintenance (read more)

Randomized Controlled Pilot Study of B Cell–Targeted Induction Therapy in HLA Sensitized Kidney Transplant Recipient

Optimal induction regimens for patients at high risk for antibody and/or cell–mediated rejection have not been established. This pilot, prospective, randomized study evaluated addition of B cell/plasma cell–targeting agents to T cell–based induction with rabbit antithymocyte globulin (rATG) in high immunologic risk renal transplant recipients. Patients were randomized to induction with rATG, rATG + rituximab, rATG + bortezomib or rATG + rituximab + bortezomib. Inclusion criteria were: (1) current cytotoxic panel reactive antibody (PRA) ≥20% or peak cytotoxic PRA ≥50% or (2) T or B cell positive flow crossmatch with donor-specific antibody (DSA) or (3) historical positive serologic or cytotoxic crossmatch or DSA to donor or (4) prior allograft loss with more than one acute rejection. Median overall follow-up was 496 days: 1-year and overall acute rejection were 25% and 27.5%, and 25% of patients developed de novo DSA within 1 year. One-year and overall patient survival were 97.5% and 92.5%, and 1-year and overall death-censored allograft survival were 97.5% and 95%. Renal allograft function posttransplant was similar among all arms. Eight of nine cases of peripheral neuropathy were mild, whereas one case was moderate and required a narcotic prescription. In conclusion, addition of rituximab and/or bortezomib to rATG induction has an acceptable safety/toxicity profile in a high immunologic risk renal transplant population (read more)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The impact of non-HLA antibodies directed against Endothelin-1 type A receptors (ETAR) on early renal transplant outcomes.

BACKGROUND : Non-HLA antibodies (Abs) targeting vascular receptors are considered to have an influence on renal transplant injury. Anti-endothelin-1 type A receptor (anti-ETAR) antibodies were associated with cellular and antibody-mediated rejection and early onset of vasculopathy in heart transplant patients but their role in renal transplantation remains unclear. The aim of our study was to assess the incidence and importance of anti-ETAR antibodies and their impact on renal transplant during the first year observation.
METHODS: We evaluated the presence of anti-ETAR antibodies in 116 consecutive renal transplant recipients in pre- and post-transplant screening (before and in 1st, 3rd, 6th, 12th month after transplantation). Additionally, we assessed the presence of anti-HLA antibodies. Anti-ETAR antibodies were assayed by ELISA. The diagnosis of acute rejection was based on the Banff criteria.
RESULTS: Anti-ETAR antibodies were observed in 55 (47.4%) of the analyzed recipients before transplantation. The function of renal transplant was significantly worse in the anti-ETAR(+) group compared to the anti-ETAR(-) group during the first post-transplant year. One month after transplantation the serum creatinine in anti-ETAR (+) patients (pts) was 1.86±0.8mg/dl and 1.51±0.5 in anti-ETAR(-) pts (p=0.009). Twelve months after transplantation the difference between the groups was still observed 1.70±0.7 vs. 1.40±0.4 (p=0.04). Biopsy proven acute rejection was recognized in 8/55 (14.5%) in ETAR(+) and 9/61 (14.8%) in ETAR(-) patients but cases with mild to severe intimal arteritis (v1-v3) were more often observed in patients with the presence of anti-ETAR Abs 4/55 (7.2%) comparing with 1/61 (1.6%) in anti-ETAR(-) patients. The anti-ETAR antibody levels varied at different measurement intervals during the one-year follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS: The presence of anti-ETAR antibodies is associated with a worse renal transplant function during the first 12months after transplantation. Including anti-ETAR antibodies in the diagnostics of renal transplant recipient immune status should be considered to provide comprehensive assessment of humoral alloimmunity (read more)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Kidney paired donation in the presence of donor-specific antibodies

Incompatible donor/recipient pairs with broadly sensitized recipients have difficulty finding a crossmatch-compatible match, despite a large kidney paired donation pool. One approach to this problem is to combine kidney paired donation with lower-risk crossmatch-incompatible transplantation with intravenous immunoglobulin. Whether this strategy is non-inferior compared with transplantation of sensitized patients without donor-specific antibody (DSA) is unknown. Here we used a protocol including a virtual crossmatch to identify acceptable crossmatch-incompatible donors and the administration of intravenous immunoglobulin to transplant 12 HLA-sensitized patients (median calculated panel reactive antibody 98%) with allografts from our kidney paired donation program. This group constituted the DSA(+) kidney paired donation group. We compared rates of rejection and survival between the DSA(+) kidney paired donation group with a similar group of 10 highly sensitized patients (median calculated panel reactive antibody 85%) that underwent DSA(−) kidney paired donation transplantation without intravenous immunoglobulin. At median follow-up of 22 months, the DSA(+) kidney paired donation group had patient and graft survival of 100%. Three patients in the DSA(+) kidney paired donation group experienced antibody-mediated rejection. Patient and graft survival in the DSA(−) kidney paired donation recipients was 100% at median follow-up of 18 months. No rejection occurred in the DSA(−) kidney paired donation group. Thus, our study provides a clinical framework through which kidney paired donation can be performed with acceptable outcomes across a crossmatch-incompatible transplant (read more)