Background: The aim of our study was to evaluate the role of intravascular macrophages in the diagnosis of early and late antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) on endomyocardial biopsies (EMBs). Methods: We reviewed 1,420 consecutive EMBs from 131 patients and selected 75 C4d+ EMBs. The C4d+ group was compared with a control group (66 patients) matched for age, gender, date of transplantation, follow-up, immunosuppressive regimen and primary heart disease. A total of 141 EMBs were evaluated. Immunoperoxidase staining for C4d and CD68 were performed. Post-transplant IgG anti-HLA reactivity was investigated by Luminex technology. Clinical data were also collected. Fourteen EMBs were available from 11 symptomatic AMR patients. Results: Of the 141 EMBs evaluated, 53 were positive for intravascular macrophages (CD68); among them, 32 were also positive for C4d (32 of 53, 60.4%). Of the 88 CD68- EMBs, 43 were also C4d+ (43 of 88, 48.9%). Of the 53 CD68+ EMBs, 30 EMBs were within the first year since transplantation (30 of 53, 57.8%), and among these 21 were also positive for C4d (21 of 30, 70.0%). In the late period, among the 23 CD68+ EMBs (23 of 53, 42.2%) 11 were also positive for C4d (11 of 23, 47.8%). In the early period, intravascular macrophages were more common in symptomatic (3 of 3, 100%) than asymptomatic (3 of 11, 27.3%) patients. Sensitivity and specificity of intravascular macrophages in predicting donor-specific antibodies (DSA) within the first year were 50.0% and 100.0%, respectively. Conclusions: Intravascular macrophages predict C4d, DSA and symptoms early after transplantation; however, in the late period, they are unable to identify patients with circulating DSA, C4d and/or symptoms.
- anti-HLA antibodies
- antibody-mediated rejection
- heart transplantation
- intravascular macrophages
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine