Cell population in spleens during antibody-mediated rejection: Pathologic and clinical findings

Ivo Tzvetanov, Mario Spaggiari, Jose Oberholzer, Suman Setty, Amanda Stephenson, James Thielke, Patricia West-Thielke, Hoonbae Jeon, Kirstie K. Danielson, Bruce Kaplan, Enrico Benedetti

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    11 Scopus citations


    Background: In the treatment of refractory antibody-mediated rejection (AMR), splenectomy has been associated with surprisingly rapid recovery of renal function. The mechanism is still unclear. Methods: We review 11 recipients, who underwent rescue splenectomy (RS) as a treatment of AMR within 3 months after kidney transplantation. At transplantation, all patients had undergone desensitization for initially positive crossmatch to their prospective donors. The cellular populations of the spleen were analyzed by immunohistochemistry. For comparison, we obtained spleen specimens from eight controls who were nontransplantation patients. Results: Rejection occurred in all the patients early after transplantation (mean [SD], 7.1 [5.7] days). One graft was lost 4 weeks after kidney transplantation. A significantly higher number of plasma cells (PCs) (P=0.049) and lower number of T and B lymphocytes (P=0.02 and P=0.005, respectively) were detected in the RS group compared with the control group. By analyzing the PC variations in the RS group, significantly lower numbers of PCs were detected in the spleens of patients who received rituximab before splenectomy (P=0.0004). In contrast, a higher number of PCs were found in patients (n=3) who did not respond to splenectomy and subsequently underwent bortezomib treatment and recovered their renal function (P=0.02). Conclusions: Splenectomy may reverse AMR by debulking PCs. Our analysis suggests that patients with a very high load of PCs may not be rescued by splenectomy alone and may need additional treatments.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)255-262
    Number of pages8
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Aug 15 2012


    • Antibody-mediated rejection
    • Kidney transplantation
    • Plasma cells
    • Splenectomy

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Transplantation


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