Antibody-mediated Rejection in Heart Transplant Recipients: Potential Efficacy of B-cell Depletion and Antibody Removal.
Bierl C, Miller B, Prak EL, Gasiewski A, Kearns J, Tsai D, Jessup M, Kamoun M.
Clinical Transplants 2006, Chapter 45
We present four patients with late AMR following cardiac transplantation, which was associated with de novo post-transplant anti-HLA class II antibody production. All patients had negative anti-HLA class I and class II antibodies prior to transplantation (as assessed by sensitive Flow PRA bead assays) and had a negative retrospective T- and B-cell flow cytometric cross-match. Upon presentation with late graft rejection due to AMR, all patients were treated with rituximab and serial plasmapheresis with IVIg plus triple-drug immunosuppression therapy. Despite initial responses to therapy, relapses occurred in all of the patients and necessitated prolonged or multiple hospital admissions and second transplants in two cases. Post-transplant serum antibody monitoring did not prove to be predictive of treatment success or failure. Serum anti-HLA antibodies should be monitored after heart transplantation. We recommend an assessment of anti-HLA antibodies following a decline in immunosuppressant drug levels or in the presence of heart failure symptoms. Anti-HLA antibody detection should be performed using very sensitive techniques such as microparticle-based assays.