Background: Donor-specific antibodies (DSAs) have various negative short- and long-term effects after organ transplantation. DSAs are prevalent in patients with insufficient immunosuppression; thus, even patients with stable conditions after liver transplantation should be under optimized immunosuppression. However, the effect of re-augmenting immunosuppression therapy for patients with insufficient immunosuppression remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the long-term changes and the effects of immunosuppression (IS) re-augmentation on the DSA status. Methods: Two DSA screenings were performed in 67 patients during long-term follow-up after liver transplantation. After the first screening, IS re-augmentation was performed in patients with consent. The effects of IS re-augmentation on the DSA status were analyzed using data of the serial DSA screenings. Negative conversion was defined as DSA positivity with MFI > 1000 converted to MFI < 1000. Improvement of DSA status was defined as either a 50% reduction of MFI or negative conversion. Results: The median interval between the first and second DSA screening was 50 months. Among 67 patients, 43 were positive for DSAs on the first screening. Among these 43 patients, 30 had minimal to no IS therapy at the time of the first screening. Among the 30 patients, IS re-augmentation was conducted in 19. A comparison between the patients with a re-augmented IS and those with a sustained minimized IS showed that the DSA levels significantly decreased in the former (63% (12/19) vs. 18% (2/11), p = 0.02). Conclusions: The results of this study indicate that post-liver transplant IS re-augmentation had suppressive effects on the DSA status. However, the clinical significance of DSA-negative conversion and/or mean fluorescence intensity reduction needs to be further investigated through histological evaluation and/or graft survival during longer follow-up periods.
- Complement-binding capacity
- Donor-specific antibody
- Liver transplantation
- Maintenance immunosuppression
- Optimized immunosuppression