Transitional B lymphocytes are associated with protection from kidney allograft rejection: a prospective study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • S Shabir
  • B Kaul
  • H Smith
  • S Daga
  • S Chand
  • S Jham
  • C Navarrete
  • S Ball
  • R Borrows


Recent cross-sectional studies suggest an important role for transitional B lymphocytes (CD19 + CD24hiCD38hi) in promoting transplant tolerance, and protecting from late antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR). However, prospective studies are lacking. This study enrolled 73 de novo transplant recipients, and collected serial clinical, immunological and biochemical information over 48 ± 6 months. Cell phenotyping was conducted immediately prior to transplantation, and then on five occasions during the first year posttransplantation. When modeled as a time-dependent covariate, transitional B cell frequencies (but not total B cells or "regulatory" T cells) were associated with protection from acute rejection (any Banff grade; HR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.37-0.95; p = 0.03). No association between transitional B cell proportions and either de novo donor-specific or nondonor-specific antibody (dnDSA; dnNDSA) formation was evident, although preserved transitional B cell proportions were associated with reduced rejection rates in those patients developing dnDSA. Three episodes of ABMR occurred, all in the context of nonadherence, and all associated with in vitro anti-HLA T cell responses in an ELISPOT assay (p = 0.008 versus antibody-positive patients not experiencing ABMR). This prospective study supports the potential relevance of transitional ("regulatory") B cells as a biomarker and therapeutic intervention in transplantation, and highlights relationships between humoral immunity, cellular immunity and nonadherence.

Bibliographic note

© Copyright 2015 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1384-91
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2015