Background: The outcome of HIV-infected kidney transplant recipients managed with an early corticosteroid withdrawal protocol is not known.
Methods: Eleven consecutive HIV-infected patients with undetectable plasma HIV RNA and more than 200/mm3 CD4+ T cells underwent deceased-donor (n=8) or living-donor (n=3) kidney transplantation at our center. All were managed with an early corticosteroid withdrawal protocol; 9 of 11 received antithymocyte globulin and 2 received basiliximab induction. We analyzed patient and graft outcomes, acute rejection rate, HIV progression, BKV replication, infections, and urinary cell mRNA profiles.
Results: The median (range) follow-up was 44.5 (26–73) months. The incidence of acute rejection was 9% at 1 year and the patient and allograft survival rates were 100% and 91%, respectively. Estimated glomerular filtration rate at 1 year (mean±SD) was 78±39 mL/min/1.73 m2. Plasma HIV RNA was undetectable at 24 months and none had BKV replication. Six of the 11 kidney recipients developed eight infections requiring hospitalization. Urinary cell levels of mRNA for complement components and complement regulatory proteins, cell lineage–specific proteins CD3, CD4, CD8, CTLA4, Foxp3, chemokine IP-10, cytotoxic perforin and granzyme B, and BKV VP1 mRNA were not different (P>0.05) between HIV-infected patients and HIV-negative recipients (n=22) with stable graft function and normal biopsy results.
Conclusion: An early steroid withdrawal regimen with antithymocyte globulin induction was associated with excellent graft and patient outcomes in HIV-infected recipients of kidney allografts. Their urinary cell mRNA profiles are indistinguishable from those of HIV-negative patients with stable graft function and normal biopsy results.