We examined the possibility that retroplacental source γ-globulin (RPGG), with its content of anti-HLA antibodies, would improve cadaver kidney graft survival rates. In a 5-year controlled prospective study of 208 transplants, we found that the addition of RPGG to a standard immunosuppressive drug regimen (azathioprine and prednisone) resulted in significant improvement of the cumulative survival rate (CSR) of first and second grafts. At 2 years, the overall CSR of first grafts increased from a control value of 37% ± 6 to 52% ± 6 (P = 0.037). Among second graft recipients, the CSR increased from a value of 19% ± 8 to 50% ± 10 (P = 0.014). This improvement in graft survival was seen as early as 3 months after surgery and was sustained through 3 years without added recipient morbidity or mortality. When recipient populations were stratified for various factors, those groupings remonstrative of an intact or active humoral immune response capacity were found to have the highest survival rates in the study; 2-year graft CSRs of 70% ± 6 and 65% ± 10 were found in recipients with preformed antibody resulting from blood transfusions (P = 0.003) and cytomegalovirus infectivity (P = 0.0006), respectively. These findings indicate that the improved graft survival seen in this study may have resulted from a recipient’s immunological response to challenge with RPGG.
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