Lack of effect in desensitization with intravenous immunoglobulin and rituximab in highly sensitized patients

Kwaku Marfo, Ming Ling, Yi Bao, Brant Calder, Bin Ye, Nicole Hayde, Stuart Greenstein, Javier Chapochnick-Friedman, Daniel Glicklich, Graciela De Boccardo, Milan Kinkhabwala, Enver Akalin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: We conducted a prospective cohort study in highly sensitized kidney transplant candidates with a calculated panel reactive antibody (cPRA) greater than 50% and on the deceased-donor waiting list for more than 5 years to investigate the effects of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and rituximab treatment. METHODS: Desensitization protocol included two doses of IVIG (2 g/kg, max 120 g each dose) and a single dose of rituximab (375 mg/m). Patients were followed up monthly by Luminex single antigen beads. Whole blood gene expression profiles were studied by Affymetrix Human 1.0 ST GeneChips before and after treatment. RESULTS: Forty patients were eligible for desensitization treatment. Thirteen of these patients agreed to participate, and 11 completed the treatment. After a mean follow-up of 334 ± 82 days, two desensitized patients (18%) received a kidney transplant compared with 14 patients (52%) in the nondesensitized group. Comparing with 14 patients who received transplants without any desensitization treatment, desensitized patients showed higher class I (99% vs. 80%) and class II (98% vs. 69%) cPRA levels and more unacceptable antigens (32 vs. 8). Desensitization treatment did not lead to any significant reduction in patients' class I and II cPRA levels and any change in the mean number of unacceptable antigens or their mean fluorescence intensity values. Whole blood gene expression analysis by microarrays demonstrated down-regulation of immunoglobulin and B-cell-associated transcripts after treatment. CONCLUSION: These results suggested that pretransplant desensitization with IVIG and rituximab was not successful in highly sensitized kidney transplant candidates with cPRA levels higher than 90%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-351
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 27 2012


  • Desensitization
  • Gene expression
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin
  • Microarrays
  • Rituximab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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