Immune activation, immune senescence and levels of Epstein Barr Virus in kidney transplant patients: Impact of mTOR inhibitors

Maria Raffaella Petrara, Diego Serraino, Caterina Di Bella, Flavia Neri, Paola Del Bianco, Martina Brutti, Francesco Carmona, Giovanni Ballin, Stefano Zanini, Paolo Rigotti, Lucrezia Furian, Anita De Rossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders (PTLD) represent a severe complication in transplanted patients and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is the main driver. Besides immunodepression, immune activation/chronic inflammation play an important role in both virus reactivation and expansion of EBV-positive B cells. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of immunosuppressive strategies on factors involved in the PTLD's pathogenesis. 124 kidney transplanted patients were enrolled in this study: 71 were treated with mycophenolic acid (MPA) and 53 treated with mTOR inhibitor (mTORi), both in combination with different doses of calcineurin inhibitor. At the time of the transplant (T0), profile of inflammation/immune activation and immune senescence didn't differ between the two groups, but after one year of treatment (T1) markers were significantly higher in MPA-treated patients; their immunosenescence process was supported by the greater erosion of telomeres despite their younger age. Percentages of activated B cells and levels of EBV-DNA significantly increased in MPA-treated patients, and at T1 were significantly higher in MPA- than in mTORi-treated patients. Overall, these findings indicate that mTOR inhibitors constrain the inflammation/immune activation and senescence status, thus reducing the expansion of EBV-infected B cells and the risk of virus-associated PTLD in kidney transplant recipients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-331
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Letters
Early online dateNov 3 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 28 2020


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