The Effect of Stem Cell Transplantation on Immunosuppression in Living Donor Renal Transplantation: A Clinical Trial

HL Trivedi, AV Vanikar, VB Kute, HV Patel, MR Gumber, PR Shah, SD Dave, VB Trivedi


Background/Objective: We designed a clinical trial on a group of live-donor renal transplantation (LDRT) patients subjected to pre-transplant stem cell transplantation (SCT) to minimize immunosuppression to low-dose steroid monotherapy.

Methods: LDRT patients subjected to pretransplant SCT who had stable graft function for ≥2 years and serum creatinine (SCr) <2 mg/dL were recruited. Patients with diabetes, hepatitis C/B, rejections, or unwilling to participate, were excluded. They had been subjected to non-myeloablative conditioning of total lymphoid irradiation (TLI)/bortezomib and cyclophosphamide, rabbit-antithymocyte globulin (r-ATG) and rituximab with SCT. The maintenance immunosuppression consisted of calcineurin inhibitors (CNI) and/or anti-proliferative agents and prednisone. Donor-specific antibodies (DSA) and peripheral T-regulatory cells (CD127low/–/4+/25high) (p-Tregs) were studied before and after withdrawal of major immunosuppressants; graft biopsy was taken after 100 days of withdrawal in willing patients. Rejections were planned to be treated by anti-rejection therapy followed by rescue immunosuppression.

Results: All immunosuppression but prednisone, 5–10 mg/day has been successfully withdrawn for a mean of 2.2 years in 76 patients with a mean age of 31.4 years and a mean donor-recipient HLA match of 2.9. The mean SCr of 1.4 mg/dL and p-Tregs of 3.5% was remained stable after withdrawal; DSA status was negative in 35.5% and positive in 47.4% patients. Protocol biopsies in all 10 patients who gave the consent were unremarkable.

Conclusion: Stable graft function in LDRT on low-dose steroid monotherapy using pre-transplant SCT under non-myeloablative conditioning with generation of p-Tregs can be achieved successfully and safely.


T-Lymphocytes, regulatory; Mesenchymal stem cells; Hematopoietic stem cells; Renal transplantation; Clonal deletion; Immunosuppression; Graft rejection

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 pISSN: 2008-6482
 eISSN: 2008-6490


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