The outcome of kidney allograft transplantation is associated with numerous donor-dependent and recipient-dependent immunological and non-immunological factors. Studies on genetic factors affecting the non-immunological aspects, like ageing of the kidney allograft and patient outcome are still lacking. The aim of this study was the analysis of relative telomere length (RTL; T/S ratio) in the biopsy specimens of the transplanted kidney allograft and its correlation with the delayed graft function (DGF), acute rejection (AR) and chronic allograft dysfunction (CAD).
The study enrolled 119 Caucasian kidney allograft recipients (64 M/55 F, mean age 47.32 ± 14.03; transplantation performed between 2001 and 2012). Organs were harvested from cadaveric donors (59.8 M/40.2 F, mean age 45.99 ± 14.62).
There were significant differences in RTL assessed in kidney allograft biopsy specimens collected 3-6 months after transplantation between patients with DGF and without DGF (181.8 ± 82.0 vs. 284.6 ± 149.6; p < 0.05) and in RTL of kidney allograft biopsy specimens collected 18-60 months after transplantation between patients with AR and without AR (188.1 ± 162.1 vs. 263.3 ± 134.7; p = 0.047). There were significant differences in RTL assessed in kidney allograft biopsy specimens collected 12-24 months after transplantation between patients with CAD and without CAD (168.0 ± 120.0 vs. 282.1 ± 158.4; p = 0.038).
Duration of dialysis before transplantation and PRA influence the kidney allograft ageing. Telomere length assessed in biopsy specimens collected in the peri-transplant period predicts the long-term kidney allograft function. Complications of kidney transplantation, like DGF, AR and CAD are linked with the telomere length and thus, graft ageing.