The impact of donor-specific anti-HLA antibodies (DSA) on antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) and kidney allograft failure is well established. However, the relevance of non-HLA antibodies remains unclear.
We investigated 13 pretransplant non-HLA antibodies and their association with histology of AMR (AMRh) and kidney allograft failure. We included single kidney recipients (n = 203) with AMRh, according to the Banff 2017 classification and matched AMRh-free controls (n = 219). Non-HLA antibodies were assessed using multiplex Luminex assay.
Of the selected non-HLA antibodies (against agrin, adipocyte plasma membrane-associated protein, Rho GDP-dissociation inhibitor 2 [ARHGDIB], Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor 6, angiotensin-II type 1 receptor, endothelin type A receptor, lamin B1, BPI fold-containing family B member 1, peroxisomal trans-2-enoyl-coenzyme A reductase, phospholipase A2 receptor, protein kinase C zeta type, tubulin beta-4B class IVb, vimentin), only antibodies against ARHGDIB (adjusted median fluorescence intensity [aMFI] ≥ 1000), a minor histocompatibility antigen, associated with graft failure, in univariate and multivariate models (hazard ratio = 2.7; 95% confidence interval [CI],1.3-5.4; P = 0.007). There was a 19.5-fold (95% CI, 6.0-63.9; P < 0.0001) increased risk of graft failure in patients positive for both DSA and anti-ARHGDIB antibodies (aMFI ≥ 1000) versus patients negative for both DSA and anti-ARHGDIB antibodies, compared with a 4.4-fold (95% CI, 2.4-8.2; P < 0.0001) increased risk in patients with only DSA, and a 4.1-fold (95% CI, 1.4-11.7; P = 0.009) increased risk in patients with only anti-ARHGDIB antibodies above 2000 aMFI. AMRh associated with increased intrarenal expression of the ARHGDIB gene. In the absence of AMRh and DSA, anti-ARHGDIB antibodies were not clearly associated with graft failure.
The presence of pretransplant anti-ARHGDIB antibodies has an additive effect in patients with DSA on the risk of graft failure via AMRh. Other investigated non-HLA antibodies, including antibodies against angiotensin-II type 1 receptor, did not contribute to risk stratification and could not explain the histology of AMR in the absence of DSA.