Liver transplantation for aHUS: still needed in the eculizumab era?

Rosanna Coppo, Roberto Bonaudo, R. Licia Peruzzi, Alessandro Amore, Andrea Brunati, Renato Romagnoli, Mauro Salizzoni, Miriam Galbusera, Eliana Gotti, Erica Daina, Marina Noris, Giuseppe Remuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The risk of disease recurrence after a kidney transplant is high in patients with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) and mutations in the complement factor H (FH) gene (CFH). Since FH is mostly produced by the liver, a kidney transplant does not correct the genetic defect. The anti-C5 antibody eculizumab prevents post-transplant aHUS recurrence, but it does not cure the disease. Combined liver–kidney transplantation has been performed in few patients with CFH mutations based on the rationale that liver replacement provides a source of normal FH. Methods: We report the 9-year follow-up of a child with aHUS and a CFH mutation, including clinical data, extensive genetic characterization, and complement profile in the circulation and at endothelial level. The outcome of kidney and liver transplants performed separately 3 years apart are reported. Results: The patient showed incomplete response to plasma, with relapsing episodes, progression to end-stage renal disease, and endothelial-restricted complement dysregulation. Eculizumab prophylaxis post-kidney transplant did not achieve sustained remission, leaving the child at risk of disease recurrence. A liver graft given 3 years after the kidney transplant completely abrogated endothelial complement activation and allowed eculizumab withdrawal. Conclusions: Liver transplant may definitely cure aHUS and represents an option for patients with suboptimal response to eculizumab.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-768
JournalPediatric Nephrology
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Alternative
  • Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome
  • Complement pathway
  • Eculizumab
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Liver transplantation
  • Rare diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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