Transpl Int 2012 Oct 17;25(10):1050-8. Epub 2012 Jul 17.
Departments of Pathology, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
The contribution of T cells and graft-reactive antibodies to acute allograft rejection is widely accepted, but the role of graft-infiltrating B and plasma cells is controversial. We examined 56 consecutive human renal transplant biopsies classified by Banff schema into T-cell-mediated (N = 21), antibody-mediated (N = 18), and mixed (N = 17) acute rejection, using standard immunohistochemistry for CD3, CD20, CD138, and CD45. In a predominantly African-American population (75%), neither Banff classification nor C4d deposition predicted the return to dialysis. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed CD3(+) T cells as the dominant cell type, followed by CD20(+) B cells and CD138(+) plasma cells in all acute rejection types. Using univariate Cox Proportional Hazard analysis, plasma cell density significantly predicted graft failure while B-cell density trended toward significance. Surprisingly T-cell density did not predict graft failure. The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) at diagnosis of acute rejection also predicted graft failure, while baseline eGFR ≥6 months prior to biopsy did not. Using multivariate analysis, a model including eGFR at biopsy and plasma cell density was most predictive of graft loss. These observations suggest that plasma cells may be a critical mediator and/or an independently sensitive marker of steroid-resistant acute rejection.
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