Repository for Antibody Incompatible Transplantation Evidence

Double-Filtration Plasmapheresis Plus Low-Dose Anti-thymocyte Globulin and Tacrolimus in Asian Living-Donor Kidney Transplantation With Donor-Specific Anti-HLA Antibody

Transplant Proc. 2021 Apr;53(3):995-1000 doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2020.08.019.

Pretransplant desensitization protocols, including plasmapheresis, intravenous immunoglobulin, induction antibody therapy, and intensive maintenance immunosuppression, are generally employed in kidney transplant recipients who have positive status for donor-specific anti-HLA antibody (DSA). To avoid serious infectious complications, the authors designed a novel low-dose protocol in Thai patients undergoing DSA+ living-related kidney transplantation (LRKT).


A retrospective cohort study of the patients who underwent DSA+ LRKT was conducted. The novel protocol consisted of 3 to 5 sessions of pretransplant double-filtration plasmapheresis (DFPP) with or without low-dose intravenous immunoglobulin together with low-dose anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG) induction (1-1.5 mg/kg/d for 3-4 days) and low-dose tacrolimus (Tac) (trough level 5-10 ng/mL), mycophenolate, and prednisolone.


The study included 17 patients. The lymphocyte crossmatch via complement-dependent cytotoxicity was negative in 12 patients and positive for B cell immunoglobulin M in 5 patients. The novel desensitization protocol resulted in a decrease of at least 50% of DSA mean fluorescence intensity from baseline (from 4320 ± 549 before DFPP to 1601 ± 350 before transplantation, P < .005) and successful kidney transplantation with good allograft function in all cases. Early DSA rebound was observed in 3 patients after transplantation, and kidney biopsy revealed subclinical antibody-mediated rejection in 1 patient and diffuse C4d staining without cell infiltration in 2 patients. There were good long-term outcomes in patient and graft survival (100% and 94.1%, respectively). Only 1 allograft loss occurred because of nonadherence. The majority of patients have stable allograft function with serum creatinine less than 1.5 mg/dL. However, infections, including CMV and other organisms, were commonly observed.


Desensitization protocol with DFPP, low-dose ATG, and Tac provides excellent outcomes in living donor kidney transplantation in highly sensitized Asian populations.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Case Series / Case Control / Cohort
MESH HEADINGS: Adult; Antilymphocyte Serum; Asian People; Cohort Studies; Female; Graft Rejection; Humans; Immunosuppression Therapy; Immunosuppressive Agents; Isoantibodies; Kidney Transplantation; Living Donors; Male; Middle Aged; Plasmapheresis; Postoperative Complications; Retrospective Studies; Tacrolimus; Transplant Recipients; Young Adult