Published: 18 November 2021
CD4+ T-helper cells play an important role in alloimmune reactions following transplantation by stimulating humoral as well as cellular responses, which might lead to failure of the allograft. CD4+ memory T-helper cells from a previous immunizing event can potentially be reactivated by exposure to HLA mismatches that share T-cell epitopes with the initial immunizing HLA. Consequently, reactivity of CD4+ memory T-helper cells toward T-cell epitopes that are shared between immunizing HLA and donor HLA could increase the risk of alloimmunity following transplantation, thus affecting transplant outcome. In this study, the amount of T-cell epitopes shared between immunizing and donor HLA was used as a surrogate marker to evaluate the effect of donor-reactive CD4+ memory T-helper cells on the 10-year risk of death-censored kidney graft failure in 190 donor/recipient combinations using the PIRCHE-II algorithm. The T-cell epitopes of the initial theoretical immunizing HLA and the donor HLA were estimated and the number of shared PIRCHE-II epitopes was calculated. We show that the natural logarithm-transformed PIRCHE-II overlap score, or Shared T-cell EPitopes (STEP) score, significantly associates with the 10-year risk of death-censored kidney graft failure, suggesting that the presence of pre-transplant donor-reactive CD4+ memory T-helper cells might be a strong indicator for the risk of graft failure following kidney transplantation.
Full Access Link: Frontiers in Immunology