Combined Analysis of HLA Class II Eplet Mismatch and Tacrolimus Levels for the Prediction of De Novo Donor Specific Antibody Development in Kidney Transplant Recipients

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 1;23(13) doi: 10.3390/ijms23137357.

We investigated whether HLA class II eplet mismatch was related to dnDSA development and analyzed its combined impact with tacrolimus levels for kidney transplantation outcomes. A total of 347 kidney transplants were included. HLA Matchmaker was used for the single molecular eplet, total eplet, antibody (Ab)-verified eplet mismatch analyses, and Ab-verified single molecular analysis to identify HLA-DR/DQ molecular thresholds for the risk of dnDSA development. A time-weighted tacrolimus trough level (TAC-C0) of 5 ng/mL and a TAC-C0 time-weighted coefficient variability (TWCV) of 20% were applied to find the combined effects on dnDSA development. A high level of mismatch for single molecular eplet (DQ ≥ 10), total eplet (DQ ≥ 12), Ab-verified eplet (DQ ≥ 4), and Ab-verified single molecular eplet (DQ ≥ 4) significantly correlated with HLA class II dnDSA development. Class II dnDSA developed mostly in patients with low TAC-C0 and high eplet mismatch. In the multivariable analyses, low TAC-C0 and high eplet mismatch showed the highest hazard ratio for the development of dnDSA. No significant combined effect was observed in dnDSA development according to TWCV. In conclusion, the determination of HLA class II eplet mismatch may improve the risk stratification for dnDSA development, especially in conjunction with tacrolimus trough levels.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Case Series / Case Control / Cohort
KEYWORDS: donor specific antibody; eplet; kidney transplantation; tacrolimus trough level
MESH HEADINGS: Antibodies; Graft Rejection; HLA Antigens; Histocompatibility Testing; Humans; Kidney Transplantation; Retrospective Studies; Tacrolimus; Tissue Donors; Transplant Recipients