Friday, February 28, 2014

Reversal of in situ T-cell exhaustion during effective human antileukemia responses to donor lymphocyte infusion

Increasing evidence across malignancies suggests that infiltrating T cells at the site of disease are crucial to tumor control. We hypothesized that marrow-infiltrating immune populations play a critical role in response to donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI), an established and potentially curative immune therapy whose precise mechanism remains unknown. We therefore analyzed marrow-infiltrating immune populations in 29 patients (22 responders, 7 nonresponders) with relapsed chronic myelogenous leukemia who received CD4+ DLI in the pre–tyrosine kinase inhibitor era. Immunohistochemical analysis of pretreatment marrow revealed that the presence of >4% marrow-infiltrating CD8+ (but not CD4+) T cells predicted DLI response, even in the setting of high leukemia burden. Furthermore, mRNA expression profiling of marrow-infiltrating T cells of a subset of responders compared with nonresponders revealed enrichment of T-cell exhaustion–specific genes in pretreatment T cells of DLI responders and significant downregulation of gene components in the same pathway in responders in conjunction with clinical response. Our data demonstrate that response to DLI is associated with quantity of preexisting marrow CD8+ T cells and local reversal of T-cell exhaustion. Our studies implicate T-cell exhaustion as a therapeutic target of DLI and support the potential use of novel anti-PD1/PDL1 agents in lieu of DLI (read more)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Acute Cellular Rejection: Impact of Donor-Specific Antibodies and C4d

Background : Mixed rejection in kidney transplantation consists of histologic and/or serological evidence of both cellular and humoral components. As it is not confined to a distinct category in the Banff classification, how to best manage these patients is not clear. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence and outcome of morphological T-cell–mediated rejection (TCMR) with a humoral component, defined as the presence of either DSA or C4d, compared with the outcome of pure TCMR. 
Methods : We retrospectively studied 922 consecutive renal transplant recipients and analyzed patients with TCMR according to the evidence of a humoral component. 
Results : A total of 147 cases of morphological TCMR were analyzed. Of these, 92 (62.6%) had “pure” TCMR and 55 (37.4%) had “mixed” TCMR on the index biopsy. On univariant analysis, diffuse C4d (odds ratio [OR]=10.9, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.8–66.9, P=0.01) and DSA positivity at the time of index biopsy (OR=2.8, 95% CI=1.2–6.6, P=0.02) were associated with allograft loss, whereas arteritis (OR=0.5, 95% CI=0.2–1.2, P=0.11) and glomerulitis (OR=0.9, 95% CI=0.4–2.1, P=0.8) were not. Arteritis was associated with subsequent antibody-mediated rejection (OR=4.9, 95% CI=1.1–20.8, P=0.03), and glomerulitis was associated with the development of transplant glomerulopathy (OR=10.7, 95% CI=3.1–37.1, P<0.01). On the multivariate analysis, only patients with C4d and DSA were at risk of graft failure (OR=4.9, 95% CI=2.0–12.0, P<0.01) in the medium term.
Conclusion : TCMR with a humoral component has a worse prognosis when compared with pure TCMR. As such, it is important to test for alloantibody in cases of morphological TCMR to optimize patient management. Such cases might benefit from more aggressive immunotherapy (read more)

Impact of HLA Mismatch at First Kidney Transplant on Lifetime With Graft Function in Young Recipients

As HLA matching has been progressively de-emphasized in the American deceased donor (DD) kidney allocation algorithm, concerns have been raised that poor matching at first transplant may lead to greater sensitization and more difficulty finding an acceptable donor for a second transplant should the first transplant fail. We compared proportion of total observed lifetime with graft function after first transplant, and waiting times for a second transplant between individuals with different levels of HLA mismatch (MM) at first transplant. We studied patients recorded in the United States Renal Data System (1988–2009) who received a first DD transplant at age ≤21 years (n = 8433), and the subgroup who were listed for a second DD transplant following first graft failure (n = 2498). Compared with recipients of 2–3 MM first grafts, 4–6 MM graft recipients spent 12% less of their time and 0–1 MM recipients 15% more time with a functioning graft after the first transplant (both p < 0.0001); 4–6 MM recipients were significantly less likely (hazard ratio [HR] 0.87 [95% confidence interval 0.76, 0.98]; p = 0.03), and 0–1 MM recipients more likely (HR 1.26 [0.99, 1.60]; p = 0.06) to receive a second transplant after listing. The benefits of better HLA matching at first transplant on lifetime with graft function are significant, but relatively small (read more)

Identification of a permissible HLA mismatch in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation

In subjects mismatched in the HLA alleles C*03:03/C*03:04 no allogeneic cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses are detected in vitro. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) with unrelated donors (UDs) showed no association between the HLA-C allele mismatches (CAMMs) and adverse outcomes; antigen mismatches at this and mismatches other HLA loci are deleterious. The absence of effect of the CAMM may have resulted from the predominance of the mismatch C*03:03/C*03:04. Patients with hematologic malignancies receiving UD HSCT matched in 8/8 and 7/8 HLA alleles were examined. Transplants mismatched in HLA-C antigens or mismatched in HLA-A, -B, or -DRB1 presented significant differences (P < .0001) in mortality (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.37, 1.30), disease-free survival (HR = 1.33, 1.27), treatment-related mortality (HR = 1.54, 1.54), and grade 3-4 acute graft-versus-host disease (HR = 1.49, 1.77) compared with the 8/8 group; transplants mismatched in other CAMMs had similar outcomes with HR ranging from 1.34 to 172 for these endpoints. The C*03:03/C*03:04 mismatched and the 8/8 matched groups had identical outcomes (HR ranging from 0.96-1.05). The previous finding that CAMMs do not associate with adverse outcomes is explained by the predominance (69%) of the mismatch C*03:03/03:04 in this group that is better tolerated than other HLA mismatches (read more)

Late antibody-mediated rejection by de novo donor HLA-DP-specific antibody after renal transplantation: a case report

The role of donor HLA-DP-specific antibodies after renal transplantation is controversial, and only preformed HLA-DP-specific antibodies have been shown to mediate rejection. Here we present a case of late humoral rejection mediated by de novo donor HLA-DP-specific antibodies in a non-sensitized recipient. This unique case demonstrates the pathogenic role of de novo anti-DP antibodies and suggests that HLA-DP matching might be relevant for renal transplantation (read more)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

“Designed” grafts for HLA-haploidentical stem cell transplantation

Today human leukocyte antigen-haploidentical transplantation is a feasible option for patients with high-risk acute leukemia who do not have matched donors. Whether it is T-cell replete or T-cell depleted, it is still, however, associated with issues of transplant-related mortality and posttransplant leukemia relapse. After reports that adoptive immunotherapy with T-regulatory cells controls the alloreactivity of conventional T lymphocytes in animal models, tomorrow’s world of haploidentical transplantation will focus on new “designed” grafts. They will contain an appropriate ratio of conventional T lymphocytes and T-regulatory cells, natural killer cells, γ δ T cells, and other accessory cells. Preliminary results of ongoing clinical trials show the approach is feasible. It is associated with better immune reconstitution and a quite powerful graft-versus-leukemia effect with a low incidence of graft-versus-host disease and no need for posttransplant pharmacological prophylaxis. Future strategies will focus on enhancing the clinical benefit of T-regulatory cells by increasing their number and strengthening their function (read more)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Genetic Variants in C5 and Poor Response to Eculizumab

BACKGROUND : Eculizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that targets complement protein C5 and inhibits terminal complement–mediated hemolysis associated with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). The molecular basis for the poor response to eculizumab in a small population of Japanese patients is unclear.
METHODS : We assessed the sequences of the gene encoding C5 in patients with PNH who had either a good or poor response to eculizumab. We also evaluated the functional properties of C5 as it was encoded in these patients.
RESULTS : Of 345 Japanese patients with PNH who received eculizumab, 11 patients had a poor response. All 11 had a single missense C5 heterozygous mutation, c.2654G→A, which predicts the polymorphism p.Arg885His. The prevalence of this mutation among the patients with PNH (3.2%) was similar to that among healthy Japanese persons (3.5%). This polymorphism was also identified in a Han Chinese population. A patient in Argentina of Asian ancestry who had a poor response had a very similar mutation, c.2653C→T, which predicts p.Arg885Cys. Nonmutant and mutant C5 both caused hemolysis in vitro, but only nonmutant C5 bound to and was blocked by eculizumab. In vitro hemolysis due to nonmutant and mutant C5 was completely blocked with the use of N19-8, a monoclonal antibody that binds to a different site on C5 than does eculizumab.
CONCLUSIONS : The functional capacity of C5 variants with mutations at Arg885, together with their failure to undergo blockade by eculizumab, account for the poor response to this agent in patients who carry these mutations (read more)

Diagnosis of Early Pancreas Graft Failure via Antibody-Mediated Rejection: Single-Center Experience With 256 Pancreas Transplantations

Early pancreas graft loss is usually attributed to technical failure while the possibility of antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) is generally overlooked. To investigate the role of AMR in early pancreas graft loss, we retrospectively assessed 256 patients with simultaneous pancreas–kidney transplantation (SPK) between 1985 and 2010 at our institute. We included 33 SPK patients who lost their pancreas graft <1 year after transplantation. AMR was diagnosed based on donor-specific antibodies, C4d and histology in 7 cases, 8 cases were suspicious for AMR and 18 pancreas graft losses were not due to AMR. Acute AMR occurred >1 month after transplantation in 6/7 cases, whereas all other causes typically led to loss <1 month after transplantation. Thrombotic lesions occurred equally among the 33 cases. In 12/18 concurrent kidney specimens, the diagnostic results paralleled those of the pancreas graft. All patients with acute AMR of the pancreas graft lost their renal grafts <1 year after transplantation. In the setting of a thrombotic event, histopathological analysis of early pancreas graft loss is advisable to rule out the possibility of AMR, particularly because a diagnosis of acute AMR has important consequences for renal graft outcomes (read more)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Risk of End-Stage Renal Disease Following Live Kidney Donation

Importance : Risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in kidney donors has been compared with risk faced by the general population, but the general population represents an unscreened, high-risk comparator. A comparison to similarly screened healthy nondonors would more properly estimate the sequelae of kidney donation.
Objectives : To compare the risk of ESRD in kidney donors with that of a healthy cohort of nondonors who are at equally low risk of renal disease and free of contraindications to live donation and to stratify these comparisons by patient demographics.
Design, Settings, and Participants : A cohort of 96 217 kidney donors in the United States between April 1994 and November 2011 and a cohort of 20 024 participants of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) were linked to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data to ascertain development of ESRD, which was defined as the initiation of maintenance dialysis, placement on the waiting list, or receipt of a living or deceased donor kidney transplant, whichever was identified first. Maximum follow-up was 15.0 years; median follow-up was 7.6 years (interquartile range [IQR], 3.9-11.5 years) for kidney donors and 15.0 years (IQR, 13.7-15.0 years) for matched healthy nondonors.
Main Outcomes and Measures : Cumulative incidence and lifetime risk of ESRD.
Results : Among live donors, with median follow-up of 7.6 years (maximum, 15.0), ESRD developed in 99 individuals in a mean (SD) of 8.6 (3.6) years after donation. Among matched healthy nondonors, with median follow-up of 15.0 years (maximum, 15.0), ESRD developed in 36 nondonors in 10.7 (3.2) years, drawn from 17 ESRD events in the unmatched healthy nondonor pool of 9364. Estimated risk of ESRD at 15 years after donation was 30.8 per 10 000 (95% CI, 24.3-38.5) in kidney donors and 3.9 per 10 000 (95% CI, 0.8-8.9) in their matched healthy nondonor counterparts (P < .001). This difference was observed in both black and white individuals, with an estimated risk of 74.7 per 10 000 black donors (95% CI, 47.8-105.8) vs 23.9 per 10 000 black nondonors (95% CI, 1.6-62.4; P < .001) and an estimated risk of 22.7 per 10 000 white donors (95% CI, 15.6-30.1) vs 0.0 white nondonors (P < .001). Estimated lifetime risk of ESRD was 90 per 10 000 donors, 326 per 10 000 unscreened nondonors (general population), and 14 per 10 000 healthy nondonors.
Conclusions and Relevance : Compared with matched healthy nondonors, kidney donors had an increased risk of ESRD over a median of 7.6 years; however, the magnitude of the absolute risk increase was small. These findings may help inform discussions with persons considering live kidney donation (read more)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Impact of the Presence and Duration of Donor-Specific Antibodies on Renal Function

Background: Although anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies (DSA) is associated with graft loss, 3 things remain unclear: whether the duration and strength of DSA affect renal function; what mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) cut-off should be used; and whether the DSA effect is additive in case of multiple DSAs.
Methods: A study was made of 63 patients who received living donor kidney transplants with clonal deletion protocol and were followed up for 18 months with reduced doses of immunosuppressants. DSA was tested for monthly, using Luminex Mixed and Single Antigen beads (One Lambda, Inc., Canoga Park, CA, USA). Decrease of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was obtained at baseline and 18 months after transplantation. Association of renal damage and DSAs was compared using several DSA models with several MFI cut-offs.
Results: Additive DSA models always showed better association with renal damage than comprehensive models. When calculating the DSA effect in additive models, “proxy-area under the curve” (AUC)—a triangular approximation of the actual AUC—showed better association with renal damage than did DSA duration (R2 = 0.105 vs 0.087). Adjusting for other factors, 27% of the variation of GFR change was explained by proxy-AUC. No significant change of association occurred if the MFI cut-off level changed from 1000 to 3000.
Conclusion: Our results support the association of DSA with development of longitudinal renal damage. The clinical interpretation may be similar at MFI cut-offs of 1000, 2000, and 3000. An additive DSA effect may be expected in patients with multiple DSAs. Our study suggests the importance of frequently checking for DSA and reducing their MFI value to minimize renal damage by the antibodies (read more)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Regulation of Anti-HLA Antibody-Dependent Natural Killer Cell Activation by Immunosuppressive Agents

Background : It was demonstrated that human natural killer (NK) cells, via antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC)-like mechanism, increase IFNγ production after exposure to alloantigens. This finding was associated with an increased risk for antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR). Although the effects of various immunosuppressive drugs on T cells and B cells have been extensively studied, their effects on NK cells are less clear. This study reports the effect of immunosuppressive agents on antibody-mediated NK cell activation in vitro. 
Methods : Whole blood from normal individuals was incubated with irradiated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) pretreated with anti-HLA antibody+ sera (in vitro ADCC), with or without immunosuppressive agents. The %IFNγ+ and CD107a+ (degranulation marker) in CD56+ NK cells were enumerated by flow cytometry. 
Results : Cyclosporine A and tacrolimus significantly reduced IFNγ production in a dose-dependent manner (53%–83%), but showed minimal effect on degranulation (20%). Prednisone significantly reduced both IFNγ production and degranulation (50%–66% reduction at maximum therapeutic levels). Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) in combination with prednisone additively suppressed IFNγ production and degranulation. The effect of sirolimus or mycophenolate mofetil on NK cells was minimal.
Conclusions : These results suggest that potent suppressive effects of CNIs and prednisone on antibody-mediated NK cell activation may contribute to the reduction of ADCC in sensitized patients and possibly reduce the risk for ADCC-mediated ABMR. These further underscore the importance of medication compliance in prevention of ABMR and possibly chronic rejection, and suggest that ADCC-mediated injury may increase in strategies aimed at CNI or steroid minimization or avoidance (read more)

Transplantation Results of Completely HLA-Mismatched Living and Completely HLA-Matched Deceased-Donor Kidneys Are Comparable

BackgroundHuman leukocyte antigen (HLA) mismatches are known to influence graft survival in deceased-donor kidney transplantation. We studied the effect of HLA mismatches in a population of recipients of deceased-donor or living-donor kidney transplantations. MethodsAll 1998 transplantations performed in our center between 1990 and 2011 were included in this retrospective cohort study. Four different multivariable Cox proportional hazard analyses were performed with HLA mismatches as continuous variable, as categorical variable (total number of HLA mismatches), as binary variable (zero vs. nonzero HLA mismatches), and HLA-A, -B, and -DR mismatches included separately. ResultsNine hundred ninety-one patients received a deceased-donor kidney and 1007 received a living-donor kidney. In multivariable Cox analysis, HLA mismatches, recipient age, current panel-reactive antibodies, transplant year, donor age, calcineurin inhibitor treatment, and donor type were found to have a significant and independent influence on the risk of graft failure, censored for death. Variables representing the total number of HLA-A, -B, and -DR mismatches had a significant and comparable influence in all analyses. ConclusionsThe influence of HLA mismatches on death-censored graft survival holds true for both deceased- and living-donor kidney transplantation. However, the relative risk of death-censored graft failure of a 2-2-2 mismatched living-donor kidney is comparable with that of a 0-0-0 mismatched deceased-donor kidney (read more)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

HLA-C antibodies are associated with irreversible rejection in kidney transplantation: shared molecular eplets characterization

We report an interesting case concerning an irreversible antibody-mediated rejection (AMR), associated with anti-HLA-C DSA, which occurred after a second kidney transplantation despite having determined a low number of antibodies directed against HLA-C antigens (MFI<1000) in the previous transplantation (which was then considered to be an indicator of low risk of AMR). A 63-year-old woman was re-transplanted with pre-transplant (PrT) sensitization. On day 7 post-transplantation, oligoanuria occurred and increased MFIs for the detected PrT antibodies and other antibodies (non-detected or detected with very low PrT MFI) were observed. SAB assay also showed antibodies against the second donor HLA-C mismatches and other HLA-C antigens. Nephrologists suspected AMR and the patient was therefore treated with methylprednisolone/plasmapheresis/IVIG/anti-CD20 without improvement, which led to transplantectomy. Histological analysis confirmed acute AMR. Interestingly, it was possible to define exactly the potential immunizing epitopes whose recognition determines the specific antibody production. So, 1(st) donor DSAs (detected PrT with low MFI), 2(nd) donor DSAs (detected PTP), and non-DSA detected PTP have several shared eplets, being the 11AVR eplet the only one present on all alleles. Thus, the recognition of 11AVR eplet in the first transplant modeled the patient́s antibody response. Therefore, we propose that donor HLA-C typing should always be performed for recipients with anti-HLA-C antibodies, and specific shared-eplets should be investigated in order to determine previous transplant mismatches (read more)

Impact of IgM and IgG3 Anti-HLA Alloantibodies in Primary Renal Allograft Recipients

BACKGROUND: With standard IgG donor-specific anti-HLA antibody (DSA) testing, it is unclear which immunoglobulin-G (IgG) DSA positive patients will fail. We looked further into the immune response by studying immunoglobulin-M (IgM) and IgG subclass 3 (IgG3) DSA to determine if these identify the IgG DSA patients at highest risk for allograft loss. METHODS: In 189 consecutively transplanted primary renal allograft recipients, sera were collected sequentially pre- and posttransplant. Of the 189, 179 patients had sera available to retrospectively test for anti-HLA IgG, IgM, and IgG3 antibodies via LABScreen single-antigen bead assay and were included in the study. All patients had a negative crossmatch. Per patient, all DSA (IgM, IgG3, and IgG) refers to the same serologic specificity. RESULTS: Overall, 100 (56%) patients developed an alloimmune response (IgM or IgG DSA positive, or both). Ninety-five patients developed IgM DSA and 47 patients developed IgG DSA. IgM DSA was detected in 42 of 47 patients with IgG DSA. IgM DSA alone did not increase the allograft loss risk, whereas IgG DSA did (P=0.002). Once IgG DSA appeared, IgM DSA persisted in 33 patients and an isotype switch to IgG3 positive DSA occurred in 25 patients. Patients with IgM persistent IgG3 positive DSA (n=19) were more likely to have allograft failure than those without (P=0.02). CONCLUSION: This study shows the evolution of the humoral immune response from IgM to IgG DSA posttransplant. We found that development of IgM persistent IgG3 positive DSA identifies the most dangerous IgG DSA subpopulation (read more)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Prospective studies of unselected indication biopsies from kidney transplants, combining conventional assessment with molecular analysis, have created a new understanding of transplant disease states and their outcomes. A large-scale Genome Canada grant permitted us to use conventional and molecular phenotypes to create a new disease classification. T cell–mediated rejection (TCMR), characterized histologically or molecularly, has little effect on outcomes. Antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR) manifests as microcirculation lesions and transcript changes reflecting endothelial injury, interferon-γ effects, and natural killer cells. ABMR is frequently C4d negative and has been greatly underestimated by conventional criteria. Indeed, ABMR, triggered in some cases by non-adherence, is the major disease causing failure. Progressive dysfunction is usually attributable to specific diseases, and pure calcineurin inhibitor toxicity rarely explains failure. The importance of ABMR argues against immunosuppressive drug minimization and stands as a barrier to tolerance induction. Microarrays also defined the transcripts induced by acute kidney injury (AKI), which correlate with reduced function, whereas histologic changes of acute tubular injury do not. AKI transcripts are induced in kidneys with late dysfunction, and are better predictors of failure than fibrosis and inflammation. Thus progression reflects ongoing parenchymal injury, usually from identifiable diseases such as ABMR, not destructive fibrosis (read more)

Neither pre-transplant rituximab nor splenectomy affects de novo HLA antibody production after renal transplantation

The long-term effect of rituximab and splenectomy on de novo HLA antibody production and chronic antibody-mediated rejection after renal transplantation is uncertain. In order to gain insight on this, we studied 92 ABO-incompatible and 228 ABO-identical/compatible consecutive renal transplant patients and determined their de novo HLA antibody production and graft outcome. Patients with pretransplant donor-specific antibodies had been excluded. ABO-incompatible transplants included 30 recipients treated with rituximab, 51 by splenectomy, or 11 with neither, due to low anti-A or -B antibody titer. Graft survival in ABO-identical/compatible patients (97.7% at 5 years) was significantly higher than in ABO-incompatible (87.0% at 5 years), rituximab (96.7% at 3 years), or splenectomy (85.7% at 5 years) patients. Only four patients had clinical chronic antibody-mediated rejection (two each identical/compatible and incompatible). There was no significant difference in prevalence of de novoHLA antibody, including donor-specific and nondonor-specific antibodies among ABO-identical/compatible patients (13.9%), patients receiving rituximab (14.3%) or splenectomy (13.2%), or among those receiving cyclosporine, tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, mizoribine, and everolimus. Renal function remained stable in most recipients with de novoHLA antibody. Thus, neither pretransplant splenectomy nor rituximab treatment has an inhibitory effect on de novo HLA antibody production during medium-term follow-up. Further study on long-term effects is needed (read more)

The Kidney as a Reservoir for HIV-1 after Renal Transplantation

Since the recent publication of data showing favorable outcomes for patients with HIV-1 and ESRD, kidney transplantation has become a therapeutic option in this population. However, reports have documented unexplained reduced allograft survival in these patients. We hypothesized that the unrecognized infection of the transplanted kidney by HIV-1 can compromise long-term allograft function. Using electron microscopy and molecular biology, we examined protocol renal transplant biopsies from 19 recipients with HIV-1 who did not have detectable levels of plasma HIV-1 RNA at transplantation. We found that HIV-1 infected the kidney allograft in 68% of these patients. Notably, HIV-1 infection was detected in either podocytes predominately (38% of recipients) or tubular cells only (62% of recipients). Podocyte infection associated with podocyte apoptosis and loss of differentiation markers as well as a faster decline in allograft function compared with tubular cell infection. In allografts with tubular cell infection, epithelial cells of the proximal convoluted tubules frequently contained abnormal mitochondria, and both patients who developed features of subclinical acute cellular rejection had allografts with tubular cell infection. Finally, we provide a novel noninvasive test for determining HIV-1 infection of the kidney allograft by measuring HIV-1 DNA and RNA levels in patients’ urine. In conclusion, HIV-1 can infect kidney allografts after transplantation despite undetectable viremia, and this infection might influence graft outcome (read more)