Donor-specific HLA-DQ antibodies may contribute to poor graft outcome after renal transplantation
Increasing evidence suggests a detrimental effect of donor-specific antibodies directed against the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A, -B, and -DR loci on renal allograft outcomes. Limited data exist on the impact of de novo HLA-DQ antibodies. Over a 3-year period, we prospectively monitored 347 renal transplant recipients without pre-transplant donor-specific antibodies for their development de novo. After 26 months of follow-up, 62 patients developed donor-specific antibodies, of which 48 had a HLA-DQ antibody either alone (33 patients) or in combination with an HLA-A, -B, or -DR antibody (15 patients). Only 14 patients developed a donor-specific HLA-A, -B, or -DR antibody without a HLA-DQ antibody present. Acute rejection occurred in 21% of the HLA-DQ-only patients, insignificant when compared with 11% of patients without donor-specific antibodies. At the last follow-up, the mean serum creatinine and the fraction of patients with proteinuria were significantly higher in those that developed only HLA-DQ than those without antibodies. The 3-year graft survival was significantly worse when HLA-DQ antibodies were combined with non-DQ antibodies (52%) compared with HLA-DQ alone, non-DQ antibodies alone, or no antibodies (92-94%). Thus, our prospective monitoring study found that donor-specific HLA-DQ antibodies were the most common type detected and these antibodies may contribute to inferior graft outcomes. Ongoing surveillance is necessary to determine the long-term outcome of patients developing HLA-DQ donor-specific antibodies.