Author(s): Genberg H, Kumlien G, Wennberg L, Tydn G
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Abstract As the demand for kidney transplantation is constantly growing methods to expand the donor pool have become increasingly important. ABO-incompatibility has hitherto been regarded as an absolute contraindication to living donor donation. However, as ABO-incompatibility has accounted for the majority of living donor exclusions, efforts have been made to overcome this immunologic barrier. Successful desensitization protocols thus far, have combined plasmapheresis for antibody removal with splenectomy to reduce the antibody producing B-cell pool, in addition to quadruple immunosuppression. Although good graft function has been achieved, the high risks involved have been deterrent. We have developed a protocol for ABO-incompatible kidney transplantation based on antigen-specific immunoadsorption and rituximab, in combination with standard maintenance immunosuppression (tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil and corticosteroids). We hypothesized that the anti-A/B antibodies could be effectively eliminated and good graft function achieved, without the complications of coagulopathy and transfusion reactions associated with plasmapheresis. Furthermore, we hypothesized that the substitution of splenectomy with a single dose of the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab would further reduce surgical risk as well as the risk of infectious complications. In 2001 the program for ABO-incompatible kidney transplantation was started at our center. To date 50 ABO-incompatible kidney transplantations have been performed according to the protocol based on antigen-specific immunoadsorption and rituximab. Safety and efficacy of the protocol has been evaluated in several studies, all showing that the antigen-specific immunoadsorption is well tolerated and without any serious side effects. Patient and graft survival as well as kidney function have been comparable to that of ABO-compatible living donor kidney transplantation and the incidence of antibody-mediated rejection 0\%. We conclude that AB0-incompatible kidney transplantation using a protocol based on antigen-specific immunoadsorption and rituximab, in combination with triple immunosuppressive therapy is safe and effective. ABO-incompatibility following this protocol does not have a negative impact on graft function. ABO-incompatible kidney transplantation is equivalent to standard ABO-compatible living donor kidney transplantation. Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
This article was published in Transfus Apher Sci
and referenced in Journal of Kidney