Elevated Plasma Immunoglobulin Levels Prior to Heart Transplantation Are Associated with Poor Post-Transplantation Survival

Patricia van den Hoogen, Manon M. H. Huibers, Floor W. van den Dolder, Roel de Weger, Erica Siera-de Koning, Marish I. F. Oerlemans, Nicolaas de Jonge, Linda W. van Laake, Pieter A. Doevendans, Joost. P. G. Sluijter ,Aryan Vink, and Saskia C. A. de Jager

Published: January 2023


Cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) and antibody-mediated rejection are immune-mediated, long-term complications that jeopardize graft survival after heart transplantation (HTx). Interestingly, increased plasma levels of immunoglobulins have been found in end-stage heart failure (HF) patients prior to HTx. In this study, we aimed to determine whether increased circulating immunoglobulin levels prior to transplantation are associated with poor post-HTx survival. Pre-and post-HTx plasma samples of 36 cardiac transplant recipient patients were used to determine circulating immunoglobulin levels. In addition, epicardial tissue was collected to determine immunoglobulin deposition in cardiac tissue and assess signs and severity of graft rejection. High levels of IgG1 and IgG2 prior to HTx were associated with a shorter survival post-HTx. Immunoglobulin deposition in cardiac tissue was significantly elevated in patients with a survival of less than 3 years. Patients with high plasma IgG levels pre-HTx also had significantly higher plasma levels after HTx. Furthermore, high pre-HTX levels of IgG1 and IgG2 levels were also significantly increased in patients with inflammatory infiltrate in CAV lesions. Altogether the results of this proof-of-concept study suggest that an activated immune response prior to transplantation negatively affects graft survival.


Graphical Abstract

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