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Antibody-Dependent NK Cell Activation Is Associated with Late Kidney Allograft Dysfunction and the Complement-Independent Alloreactive Potential of Donor-Specific Antibodies

Abstract : Although kidney transplantation remains the best treatment for end-stage renal failure, it is limited by chronic humoral aggression of the graft vasculature by donor-specific antibodies (DSAs). The complement-independent mechanisms that lead to the antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR) of kidney allografts remain poorly understood. Increasing lines of evidence have revealed the relevance of natural killer (NK) cells as innate immune effectors of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), but few studies have investigated their alloreactive potential in the context of solid organ transplantation. Our study aimed to investigate the potential contribution of the antibody-dependent alloreactive function of NK cells to kidney graft dysfunction. We first conducted an observational study to investigate whether the cytotoxic function of NK cells is associated with chronic allograft dysfunction. The NK-Cellular Humoral Activation Test (NK-CHAT) was designed to evaluate the recipient and antibody-dependent reactivity of NK cells against allogeneic target cells. The release of CD107a/Lamp1(+) cytotoxic granules, resulting from the recognition of rituximab-coated B cells by NK cells, was analyzed in 148 kidney transplant recipients (KTRs, mean graft duration: 6.2 years). Enhanced ADCC responsiveness was associated with reduced graft function and identified as an independent risk factor predicting a decline in the estimated glomerular filtration rate over a 1-year period (hazard ratio: 2.83). In a second approach, we used the NK-CHAT to reveal the cytotoxic potential of circulating alloantibodies in vitro. The level of CD16 engagement resulting from the in vitro recognition of serum-coated allogeneic B cells or splenic cells was further identified as a specific marker of DSA-induced ADCC. The NK-CHAT scoring of sera obtained from 40 patients at the time of transplant biopsy was associated with ABMR diagnosis. Our findings indicate that despite the administration of immunosuppressive treatments, robust ADCC responsiveness can be maintained in some KTRs. Because it evaluates both the Fab recognition of alloantigens and Fc-driven NK cell activation, the NK-CHAT represents a potentially valuable tool for the non-invasive and individualized evaluation of humoral risk during transplantation.
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Tristan Legris, Christophe Picard, Dilyana Todorova, Luc Lyonnet, Cathy Laporte, et al.. Antibody-Dependent NK Cell Activation Is Associated with Late Kidney Allograft Dysfunction and the Complement-Independent Alloreactive Potential of Donor-Specific Antibodies. Frontiers in Immunology, Frontiers, 2016, 7, pp.288. ⟨10.3389/fimmu.2016.00288⟩. ⟨hal-01462978⟩

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