Chronic active T cell–mediated rejection is variably responsive to immunosuppressive therapy

Vanderlene L. Kung, Rana Sandhu, Mark Haas, Edmund Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Chronic active T cell–mediated rejection (CA TCMR) is a newly described variant of kidney allograft rejection associated with long-term graft loss. Whether this form of rejection is related to under immunosuppression is debated and the benefit of immunosuppressive therapy in CA TCMR is unknown. Here we investigate the amenability of CA TCMR to treatment and examine the impact of clinical, histologic, and molecular parameters on outcomes. In a retrospective single institution review, we identified 48 cases of isolated CA TCMR, of which 44 were treated with pulse steroids or anti-thymocyte globulin, or both. Defining treatment response as an at least 50% estimated glomerular filtration rate recovery, a response was achieved in 20% of cases at four weeks post initiation of immunosuppressive therapy. Treatment responsiveness did not reflect the presence of concomitant acute T cell–mediated rejection, and was not significantly different between cases with mild, moderate, and severe parenchymal scarring. Although not statistically significant, there was a trend toward greater treatment responsiveness in cases with moderate as opposed to severe tubulitis. By targeted transcriptional profiling, increased allograft mast cells and alterations in lipid metabolism were identified as possible features of treatment resistant CA TCMR. Thus, our study shows that although its prognosis is generally poor, CA TCMR is not a homogenous entity and in a subset of cases, improvement in kidney function can be achieved with immunosuppressive therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-400
Number of pages10
JournalKidney International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Banff classification
  • T cell–mediated rejection
  • chronic rejection
  • kidney allograft
  • mast cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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