De novo donor-specific antibodies (DSAs) are associated with antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) and allograft loss. Whether monitoring of de novo DSA (dnDSA) paired with systematic kidney biopsy should become routine remains to be established.
A retrospective multicentric study (9 French kidney transplant units of the Spiesser group) included patients without graft dysfunction biopsied because of the presence of dnDSA (One Lambda, mean fluorescence intensity [MFI], >1000).
One hundred twenty-three patients (85 male/38 female; mean age, 49.5 ± 13.1 y old) were biopsied after the detection of a dnDSA, 65.3 months (median) after kidney transplantation. Graft function was stable within 3 months before biopsy (estimated glomerular filtration rate, 55.3 ± 18.9 mL/min/1.73 m2). Fifty-one subclinical AMRs (sAMRs) (41.4%) were diagnosed, of which 32 (26%) active and 19 (15.5%) chronic active sAMR. Seventy-two biopsies revealed no AMR (58.5%). Predictive factors associated with the diagnosis of active sAMR were MFI of immunodominant DSA >4000, MFI of the sum of DSA >6300, age of the recipient <45 years old, and the absence of steroids at biopsy. The presence of proteinuria >200 mg/g was predictive of chronic active sAMR. The decrease of estimated glomerular filtration rate at 5 years post-biopsy was significantly higher in patients with acute sAMR (−25.2 ± 28.3 mL/min/1.73 m2) and graft survival significantly lower.
Performing a kidney graft biopsy for the occurrence of dnDSA without renal dysfunction leads to the diagnosis of a sAMR in over 40% of cases. Nevertheless, we did not observe any effect of standard treatment in acute sAMR.