Regulatory T-cell Number in Peripheral Blood at 1 Year Posttransplant as Predictor of Long-term Kidney Graft Survival
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AuthorSan Segundo, David; Galván-Espinoza, Luis H.; Rodrigo Calabia, Emilio; Irure, Juan; Ruiz San Millán, Juan Carlos; Fernández Fresnedo, Gema; Riesco, Laura; Bada, Jairo; Belmar, Lara; López Hoyos, Marcos
Background: Regulatory T (Treg) cells play a role in limiting kidney transplant rejection and can potentially promote long-term transplant tolerance. There are no large prospective studies demonstrating the utility of peripheral blood Treg cells as biomarkers for long-term graft outcome in kidney transplantation. The aim of our study was to analyze the influence of the absolute number of peripheral blood Treg cells after transplantation on long-term death-censored graft survival.
Methods: We monitored the absolute numbers of Treg cells by flow cytometry in nonfrozen samples of peripheral blood in 133 kidney transplant recipients, who were prospectively followed up to 2 years after transplantation. Death-censored graft survival was determined retrospectively in January 2017.
Results: The mean time of clinical follow-up was 7.4 ± 2.9 years and 24.1% patients suffered death-censored graft loss (DCGL). Patients with high Treg cells 1 year after transplantation and above the median value (14.57 cells/mm3), showed better death-censored graft survival (5-year survival, 92.5% vs 81.4%, Log-rank P = .030). One-year Treg cells showed a receiver operating characteristic - area under curve of 63.1% (95% confidence interval, 52.9-73.2%, P = 0.026) for predicting DCGL. After multivariate Cox regression analysis, an increased number of peripheral blood Treg cells was a protective factor for DCGL (hazard ratio, 0.961, 95% confidence interval, 0.924-0.998, P = 0.041), irrespectively of 1-year proteinuria and renal function.
Conclusions: Peripheral blood absolute numbers of Treg cells 1 year after kidney transplantation predict a better long-term graft outcome and may be used as prognostic biomarkers.
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