Author(s): Trivedi HL, Vanikar AV, Modi PR, Shah VR, Vakil JM,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: We designed a prospective, randomized, and controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of achieving a mixed chimerism-associated tolerance protocol for recipients of living related donor (LRD) renal allografts. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Sixty-six consecutive patients were divided into two equal groups of 33 patients with end-stage renal disease. They were enrolled for transplantation after negative lymphocytotoxicity cross-matching (LCM). Both groups (treated [Tn] and control [Cn]) showed similar clinical and laboratory parameters and donor HLA match profiles. The Tn group underwent thymic transplantation of donor renal tissue, two donor-specific transfusions, low-intensity conditioning, and high-dose hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) before renal transplantation. The conditioning regimen included low-dose, target-specific irradiation (to abdominal and inguinal lymph nodes, bone marrow [BM] from thoracolumbar vertebrae and part of the pelvis on alternate days, 100 rad x 4), anti-T-cell antibodies (1.5 mg/kg body weight [BW]), cyclophosphamide (10 mg/kg BW x 2 consecutive days), and cyclosporine (CyA; >3 mg/kg BW/d). Unfractionated HSCT procured from the donor marrow was administered into the BM, portal and peripheral circulations, within 24 hours of achieving CD 4+/CD 8+ T-cell count less than 10\% of normal. This infusion was supplemented with a dose of peripherally mobilized stem cells (mean total dose of 20 x 10(8) cells/kg recipient BW) administered peripherally. Renal transplantation was performed after negative LCM. Donor-specific cytotoxic antibodies were eliminated with intravenous immunoglobulins and plasmapheresis before renal transplantation. Mixed chimerism was evaluated before and after transplantation at monthly intervals in patients with donors of opposite gender by the FISH technique. Both groups received CyA and prednisolone for immunosuppression; Cn subjects also received mycophenolate mofetil/azathioprine. Rejection was treated with standard treatment. Immunosuppression was withdrawn 6 months after renal transplantation for patients with consistently positive chimerism. Clinical tolerance was defined as stable allograft function for more than 100 days without immunosuppression and confirmed by allograft biopsy. RESULTS: Over a mean follow-up of 210 days, all Tn patients showed stable allograft function with mean serum creatinines (SCr) of 1.20 mg/dL, no rejection/CMV infections/graft or patient loss. A low-level donor-specific cytotoxic antibody was observed in all Tn patients. The CyA toxicity was noted in 10 (30.3\%) patients. Persistent mixed hematopoietic chimerism was seen in all 21 patients irrespective of donor-recipient HLA matching (mean 0.5\% before and 1 +/- 0.3\% after transplantation). All four patients on drug withdrawal have shown donor-specific tolerance at a mean follow-up of 129.8 days. Other Tn patients are in the process of being weaned off immunosuppression. Mean SCr of controls was 1.45 mg/dL over a mean follow-up of 216 days. Acute rejection was observed in 17 (51.5\%) patients; no CMV infection/patient loss was noted and one (3.03\%) graft was lost in controls. No patient was lost in controls. No graft-versus-host disease was observed in Tn patients. CONCLUSION: We have achieved mixed hematopoietic chimerism-associated tolerance with high-dose HSCT, intrathymic donor renal tissue transplantation, and minimal conditioning without any adverse effects.
This article was published in Transplant Proc
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology