The role of non-HLA autoantibodies in chronic-active antibody-mediated rejection (c-aABMR) of kidney transplants is largely unknown. In this study, the presence and clinical relevance of non-HLA autoantibodies using a recently developed multiplex Luminex-based assay were investigated. Patients with a kidney allograft biopsy at least 6 months after transplantation with a diagnosis of c-aABMR (n = 36) or no rejection (n = 21) were included. Pre-transplantation sera and sera at time of biopsy were tested for the presence of 14 relevant autoantibodies. A significantly higher signal for autoantibodies against Rho GDP-dissociation inhibitor 2 (ARHGDIB) was detected in recipients with c-aABMR as compared to recipients with no rejection. However, ARHGDIB autoantibodies did not associate with graft survival. Levels of autoantibodies against angiotensin II type 1-receptor (AT1R) and peroxisomal trans-2-enoyl-CoA reductase (PECR) were increased in recipients with interstitial fibrosis in their kidney biopsy. Only the signal for AT1R autoantibody showed a linear relationship with the degree of interstitial fibrosis and was associated with graft survival. In conclusion, anti-ARHGDIB autoantibodies are increased when c-aABMR is diagnosed but are not associated with graft survival, while higher levels of AT1R autoantibody are specifically associated with the presence of interstitial fibrosis and graft survival.

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Human Immunology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam