Post-transplant de novo non donor-specific HLA antibodies are not associated with poor graft outcome in non-sensitized pediatric recipients of kidney transplantation

Michela Cioni, Patrizia Comoli, Augusto Tagliamacco, Annalisa Innocente, Sabrina Basso, Iris Fontana, Alberto Magnasco, Antonella Trivelli, Angela Nocco, Mario Macchiagodena, Laura Catenacci, Catherine Klersy, Enrico Verrina, Giacomo Garibotto, Gian Marco Ghiggeri, Massimo Cardillo, Fabrizio Ginevri, Arcangelo Nocera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While de novo donor-specific HLA antibodies (dnDSAs) have a detrimental impact on kidney graft outcome, the clinical significance of de novo non donor-specific antibodies (dnNDSAs) is more controversial. We retrospectively evaluated for Ab development and characteristics of dnNDSAs serially collected post-transplant sera and, when available, graft biopsy eluates, from 144 non-sensitized, primary pediatric kidney recipients, consecutively transplanted at a single center between 2003 and 2017, using HLA class I and class II single-antigen flow-bead assays (SAB). The results were compared with clinical-pathologic data from HLA antibody negative and HLA dnDSA-positive patients. Forty-five out of 144 patients developed dnNDSAs (31%). Among the dnNDSA-positive patients, 86% displayed one or more class I/II antibodies recognizing antigens included in the CREG/shared epitope groups that also comprise the mismatched donor HLA antigens. Despite potential pathogenicity, as suggested by their occasional presence within the graft, dnNDSAs displayed significantly lower MFI, and limited complement binding and graft homing properties, when compared with dnDSAs. In parallel, the graft survival probability was significantly lower in patients with dnDSA than in those with dnNDSA or without HLA antibodies (p < 0.005). Indeed, the dnNDSA-positive patients remaining dnDSA-negative throughout the posttransplant period did not develop clinical antibody mediated rejection and graft loss, and maintained good graft function at a median follow-up of 9 years. The biological characteristics of dnNDSAs may account for the low graft damaging capability when compared to dnDSAs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101375
JournalTransplant Immunology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Cross-reactive groups (CREGs)
  • de novo non donor-specific HLA antibodies
  • Pediatric kidney transplantation
  • Public epitopes
  • Shared epitopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Transplantation


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