Inflammation lesions in kidney transplant biopsies: Association with survival is due to the underlying diseases

J. Sellarés, D. G. De Freitas, M. Mengel, B. Sis, L. G. Hidalgo, A. J. Matas, B. Kaplan, Philip F. Halloran

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    72 Scopus citations


    Assessment of kidney transplant biopsies relies on nonspecific inflammatory lesions: Interstitial infiltrates (i), tubulitis (t) and intimal arteritis (v). We studied the relationship between inflammation and prognosis in biopsies for clinical indications from 314 patients (median follow-up 25 months). We used a modified Banff classification, separately assessing inflammation (i-) in nonscarred (i-Banff), scarred (i-IFTA) and whole cortex (i-total), plus tubulitis and intimal arteritis. In early biopsies (<1 year), i- and t-lesions had no association with graft survival. In late (>1 year) biopsies, all i-scores correlated with progression to failure, due to the association of these infiltrates with progressive diseases: antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR) and glomerulonephritis. Tubulitis in non-scarred areas had no impact on survival. Severe tubulitis including scarred areas (tis3) was associated with worse survival, but reflected polyoma virus nephropathy or ABMR, not T-cell-mediated rejection. Intimal arteritis (v-lesions) had no association with allograft loss in early or late biopsies. In multivariate analysis, outcome was better predicted by the presence of progressive disease than by inflammation. Thus inflammation in late kidney transplants has no inherent prognostic impact, but predicts reduced survival because inflammation indicates actively progressing diseases. The most important predictor of outcome is the diagnosis of a progressive disease.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)489-499
    Number of pages11
    JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 2011


    • Banff classification
    • Donor specific antibody
    • Pathology
    • Renal allograft rejection
    • Transplantation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Immunology and Allergy
    • Transplantation
    • Pharmacology (medical)


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