Repository for Antibody Incompatible Transplantation Evidence

Desensitization Regimen Consisting of High-Dose Intravenous Immunoglobulin, Plasmapheresis, and Rituximab (an Anti-CD20 Antibody), Without Eculizumab and/or Bortezomib, in 41 Highly Sensitized Kidney Transplant Recipients

Exp Clin Transplant. 2021 Oct;19(10):1032-1040 doi: 10.6002/ect.2021.0234.

Antibody-mediated rejection in patients with positive crossmatches can be severe and result in sudden onset of oliguria, leading to graft loss. In an attempt to prevent posttransplant oliguria, we adopted a preoperative desensitization protocol involving the use of high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin/plasmapheresis and the anti-CD20 antibody, rituximab, in 41 transplant recipients with positive crossmatch test results.


We retrospectively examined the clinical courses of the 41 kidney transplant recipients, paying special attention to renal graft function, urine volume, and changes in the titers of donor-specific antibodies.


Four grafts were lost during an average of 4.5-year follow-up. Average graft function was excellent, with a serum creatinine level of 1.3 ± 0.4 mg/dL. Sufficient urine output, with no oliguria or anuria, was achieved postoperatively in 40 of the 41 patients. However, among the 34 patients who underwent graft biopsies, the biopsies revealed acute antibody-mediated rejection in 21 patients (62%), and chronic antibodymediated rejection in 10 patients (30%).


The high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin treatment included in our desensitization protocol was shown to be safe and effective for achieving successful transplant outcomes and allowed the avoidance of more aggressive B-cell-targeted treatments, such as C5 inhibitors and/or proteosome inhibitors, for preventing posttransplant oliguria and anuria.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Case Series / Case Control / Cohort
MESH HEADINGS: Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized; Anuria; Bortezomib; Desensitization, Immunologic; Female; Graft Rejection; Graft Survival; HLA Antigens; Histocompatibility Testing; Humans; Immunoglobulins, Intravenous; Kidney Transplantation; Male; Oliguria; Plasmapheresis; Retrospective Studies; Rituximab; Transplant Recipients; Treatment Outcome