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MINERVA UROLOGICA E NEFROLOGICA
A Journal on Nephrology and Urology
Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,536
Minerva Urologica e Nefrologica 2003 March;55(1):1-11
The problem of late allograft loss in kidney transplantation
Cardarelli F., Saidman S., Theruvath T., Tolkoff-Rubin N., Cosimi A. B., Pascual M.
Renal and Transplantation Units Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Transplantation Center Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois Lausanne, Switzerland
The 2 principal factors implicated in late kidney allograft failure are chronic rejection (also called chronic allograft nephropathy) and death of the patient with a functioning graft (mainly from cardiovascular causes). Despite lifelong immunosuppression of the recipient, immunological responses remain the leading factor in the pathogenesis of chronic rejection and both cellular and humoral immune mechanisms have been shown to play important roles.
In this review, we highlight the relevance of humoral mechanisms of rejection to the pathogenesis of late allograft loss. Non immunological factors, such as donor organ quality, initial ischemic injury, calcineurin inhibitor (CNI) toxicity, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, also contribute to progressive chronic allograft injury, but will not be reviewed in detail here.
Possible strategies to stabilize or improve allograft function in patients with already established “chronic rejection/chronic allograft nephropathy” (CR/CAN) are the addition of mycophenolate mofetil (or sirolimus) with or without a reduction of cyclosporine dosage, or conversion from cyclosporine to tacrolimus. However, prospective randomized clinical trials are needed to test the efficacy of these strategies. A major current challenge for transplant physicians is to develop regimens that prevent CR/CAN, since, once established, the process typically progresses inexorably to renal allograft loss in most recipients. Evidence is now accumulating that new immunosuppressive regimens must control not only T cell but also B cell responses (i.e. limit antidonor antibody production) in order to prevent CR/CAN and improve long-term allograft survival.