Journal of Transplantation
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Orthostatic Hypotension and Concurrent Autonomic Dysfunction: A Novel Complication of Lung Transplantation

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Journal of Transplantation publishes research related to heart, lung, kidney, liver, pancreas and stem cell transplantation as well as focusing on the histocompatibility, related side effects and complications of those transplantations.

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Journal of Transplantation maintains an Editorial Board of practicing researchers from around the world, to ensure manuscripts are handled by editors who are experts in the field of study.

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Review Article

Mammalian Target of Rapamycin Inhibitors and Wound Healing Complications in Kidney Transplantation: Old Myths and New Realities

Mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors (mTOR-I) lacks nephrotoxicity, has antineoplastic effects, and reduces viral infections in kidney transplant recipients. Earlier studies reported a significant incidence of wound healing complications and lymphocele. This resulted in the uncomfortable willingness of transplant clinicians to use these agents in the immediate posttransplant period. As evidence and experience evolved over time, much useful information became available about the optimal use of these agents. Understandably, mTOR-I effects wound healing through their antiproliferative properties. However, there are a lot of other immunological and nonimmunological factors which can also contribute to wound healing complications. These risk factors include obesity, uremia, increasing age, diabetes, smoking, alcoholism, and protein-energy malnutrition. Except for age, the rest of all these risk factors are modifiable. At the same time, mycophenolic acid derivatives, steroids, and antithymocyte globulin (ATG) have also been implicated in wound healing complications. A lot has been learnt about the optimal dose of mTOR-I and their trough levels, its combinations with other immunosuppressive medications, and patients’ profile, enabling clinicians to use these agents appropriately for maximum benefits. Recent randomized control trials have further increased the confidence of clinicians to use these agents in immediate posttransplant periods.

Research Article

Living-Donor Liver Transplant in Oman: A Quantitative Cross-Sectional Study of Donors’ Experiences and Challenges

Background. In Oman, the first liver transplant was performed at the Royal Hospital (RH) in September 2017. Since then, thirteen cases have been operated on at the RH. All of these cases were living-donor liver transplants (LDLT), and the remaining cases were treated in India with a total of approximately 193 recipients. To provide an in-depth overview of donor experiences, challenges, and perceptions, a cross-sectional study was conducted. Methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted at one tertiary hospital in 2019. The survey was designed to collect data composed of closed and open-ended questions to reveal a thorough knowledge of the topic. Results. A total of 50 of 120 donors responded to the survey with male dominance in the sample (68%) and 64% were aged 28 to 38 years. 66% of the respondents came to know about the donation through hospital staff. Interestingly, respondents (n = 8/12) who reported that fear of operation is the cause that prevents people from donating are among the male gender, while more men believe that the main cause is lack of knowledge. 90% of the respondents felt satisfied after donation. More men reported ambiguous feelings before donation. Moreover, married donors reported ambiguous feelings before donation (p = 0.008). The younger age group reported anxiety and doubt as a challenge through their donation experience. Conclusion. This study revealed that donors have a positive feeling after donating as they have saved a life, as well as being empowered by family and community. The donors encourage individuals to donate a portion of their liver. Some crucial questions arose, such as anxiety before surgery, ambiguous feelings before surgery, and fatigue after surgery. These findings underscore the importance of a holistic approach that would enable donors to be well informed prior to surgery.

Research Article

Natural Antibodies and Alloreactive T Cells Long after Kidney Transplantation

Background. The relationship between circulating effector memory T and B cells long after transplantation and their susceptibility to immunosuppression are unknown. To investigate the impact of antirejection therapy on T cell-B cell coordinated immune responses, we assessed IFN-γ-producing memory cells and natural antibodies (nAbs) that potentially bind to autoantigens on the graft. Methods. Plasma levels of IgG nAbs to malondialdehyde (MDA) were measured in 145 kidney transplant recipients at 5–7 years after transplantation. In 54 of these patients, the number of donor-reactive IFN-γ-producing cells was determined. 35/145 patients experienced rejection, 18 of which occurred within 1 year after transplantation. Results. The number of donor-reactive IFN-γ-producing cells and the levels of nAbs were comparable between rejectors and nonrejectors. The nAbs levels were positively correlated with the number of donor-reactive IFN-γ-producing cells (rs = 0.39, ). The positive correlation was only observed in rejectors (rs = 0.53, ; nonrejectors: rs = 0.24, ). Moreover, we observed that intravenous immune globulin treatment affected the level of nAbs and this effect was found in patients who experienced a late ca-ABMR compared to nonrejectors (). Conclusion. The positive correlation found between alloreactive T cells and nAbs in rejectors suggests an intricate role for both components of the immune response in the rejection process. Treatment with intravenous immune globulin impacted nAbs.

Review Article

Waitlist Mortality and Posttransplant Outcomes in African Americans with Autoimmune Liver Diseases

Background. Liver transplantation is indicated in end-stage liver disease due to autoimmune diseases. The liver allocation system can be affected by disparities such as decreased liver transplant referrals for racial minorities, especially African Americans that negatively impact the pre- and posttransplant outcomes. Aim. To determine differences in waitlist survival and posttransplant graft survival rates between African American and Caucasian patients with autoimmune liver diseases. Study. The United Network for Organ Sharing database was used to identify all patients with autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cholangitis, and primary sclerosing cholangitis who underwent liver transplant from 1988 to 2019. We compared waitlist survival and posttransplant graft survival between Caucasians and African Americans using Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox regression models. We also evaluated the cumulative incidence of death or delisting for deterioration and posttransplant incidence of death and retransplantation using competing risk analysis. Results. African Americans were more likely to be removed from the waitlist for death or clinical deterioration (subdistribution hazard ratio (SHR) 1.26, 95% CI 1–1.58, ) using competing risk analysis. On multivariate Cox regression analysis, there was no difference in posttransplant graft survival among the two groups (hazard ratio (HR) 1.10, 95% CI 0.98–1.23, ). Conclusions. Despite the current efforts to reduce racial disparities, we found that African Americans are more likely to die on the waitlist for liver transplant and are less likely to be transplanted, with no differences in graft survival rates. The persistence of healthcare disparities continues to negatively impact African Americans.

Research Article

Is Bigger Better? Living Donor Kidney Volume as Measured by the Donor CT Angiogram in Predicting Donor and Recipient eGFR after Living Donor Kidney Transplantation

Background. The role of kidney volume measurement in predicting the donor and recipient kidney function is not clear. Methods. We measured kidney volume bilaterally in living kidney donors using CT angiography and assessed the association with the donor remaining kidney and recipient kidney (donated kidney) function at 1 year after kidney transplantation. Donor volume was categorized into tertiles based on lowest, middle, and highest volume. Results. There were 166 living donor and recipient pairs. The mean donor age was 44.8 years (SD ± 10.8), and donor mean BMI was 25.5 (SD ± 2.9). The recipients of living donor kidneys were 64% male and had a mean age of 43.5 years (SD ± 13.3). Six percent of patients experienced an episode of cellular rejection and were maintained on dialysis for a mean of 18 months (13–32) prior to transplant. Kidney volume was divided into tertiles based on lowest, middle, and highest volume. Kidney volume median (range) in tertiles 1, 2, and 3 was 124 (89–135 ml), 155 (136–164 ml), and 184 (165–240 ml) with donor eGFR ml/min (adjusted for body surface area expressed as ml/min/1.73 m2) at the time of donation in each tertile, 109 (93–129), 110 (92–132), and 101 ml/min (84–117). The median (IQR) eGFR in tertiles 1 to 3 in kidney recipients at 1 year after donation was 54 (44–67), 62 (50–75), and 63 ml/min (58–79), respectively. The median (IQR) eGFR in tertiles 1 to 3 in the remaining kidney of donors at 1 year after donation was 59 (53–66), 65 (57–72), and 65 ml/min (56–73), respectively. Conclusion. Bigger kidney volume was associated with better eGFR at 1 year after transplant in the recipient and marginally in the donor remaining kidney.

Research Article

The Impact of Timing of Stent Removal on the Incidence of UTI, Recurrence, Symptomatology, Resistance, and Hospitalization in Renal Transplant Recipients

Purpose. To evaluate the impact of early (<3 weeks) versus late (>3 weeks) urinary stent removal on urinary tract infections (UTIs) post renal transplantation. Methods. A retrospective study was performed including all adult renal transplants who were transplanted between January 2017 and May 2020 with a minimum of 6-month follow-up at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Results. A total of 279 kidney recipients included in the study were stratified into 114 in the early stent removal group (ESR) and 165 in the late stent removal group (LSR). Mean age was 43.4 ± 15.8; women: n: 114, 40.90%; and deceased donor transplant: n: 55, 19.70%. Mean stent removal time was 35.3 ± 28.0 days posttransplant (14.1 ± 4.6 days in the ESR versus 49.9 ± 28.1 days in LSR, ). Seventy-four UTIs were diagnosed while the stents were in vivo or up to two weeks after the stent removal “UTIs related to the stent” (n = 20, 17.5% in ESR versus n = 54, 32.7% in LSR; ). By six months after transplantation, there were 97 UTIs (n = 36, 31.6% UTIs in ESR versus n = 61, 37% in LSR; ). Compared with UTIs diagnosed after stent removal, UTIs diagnosed while the stent was still in vivo tended to be complicated (17.9% versus 4.9%, : 0.019), recurrent (66.1% versus 46.3%; : 0.063), associated with bacteremia (10.7% versus 0%; : 0.019), and requiring hospitalization (61% versus 24%, : 0.024). Early stent removal decreased the need for expedited stent removal due to UTI reasons (rate of UTIs before stent removal) (n = 11, 9% in the early group versus n = 45, 27% in the late group; ). The effect on the rate of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDRO) was less clear (33% versus 47%, : 0.205). Early stent removal was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of UTIs related to the stent (HR = 0.505, 95% CI: 0.302-0.844, ) without increasing the incidence of urological complications. Removing the stent before 21 days posttransplantation decreased UTIs related to stent (aOR: 0.403, CI: 0.218-0.744). Removing the stent before 14 days may even further decrease the risk of UTIs (aOR: 0.311, CI: 0.035- 2.726). Conclusion. Early ureteric stent removal defined as less than 21 days post renal transplantation reduced the incidence of UTIs related to stent without increasing the incidence of urological complications. UTIs occurring while the ureteric stent still in vivo were notably associated with bacteremia and hospitalization. A randomized trial will be required to further determine the best timing for stent removal.

Journal of Transplantation
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Article of the Year Award: Outstanding research contributions of 2020, as selected by our Chief Editors. Read the winning articles.