Cellular immune profile of kidney transplant patients developing anti-HLA antibodies during childhood

Veronica Santilli, Alberto Cagigi, Isabella Guzzo, Stefano Rinaldi, Nadia Mora, Federica Zotta, Antonina Piazza, Paolo Rossi, Francesco Emma, Luca Dello Strologo, Paolo Palma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: In the field of kidney transplantation, identifying early signatures of humoral rejection is a key challenge. Methods: We investigated the presence of anti-HLA antibodies and the distribution of lymphocyte subpopulations in 77 kidney-transplanted children and young adults compared to 23 healthy controls. Moreover, we tested whether the presence of anti-HLA antibodies could be related to modification in lymphocyte phenotype. Finally, we correlated the presence of anti-HLA antibodies and specific alteration of lymphocyte subsets with clinical outcomes. Results: In kidney-transplanted children who developed anti- HLA antibodies, we observed an expansion of doublenegative B cells (CD19+CD27-IgD-), indicating premature aging of this compartment. Moreover, we reported signs of impaired B cell regulation, indicated by a higher IL-21R+ B cell frequency associated with an abnormal increase of follicular helper Tcells. Finally, a considerable reduction in CD8+ effector T and invariant Natural killer T (NKT) cells was observed. The stability of graft function over time is significantly correlated with the frequency of peripheral effector CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and invariant NKT cells. Conclusions: This study supports the usefulness of lymphocyte subset as one of a spectrum of early diagnostic tools required to identify patients at risk of developing donor alloimmune response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1010
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 21 2015


  • Humoral allograft rejection
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Lymphocyte subpopulations
  • Predictive biomarkers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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