Human Immunology and Immunopathology, Inserm UMR 976, Paris, France; Institut de Recherche Saint Louis, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris, Paris, France; LabEx Transplantex, Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France. Electronic address: [Email]
Development of donor-specific antibodies is associated with reduced allograft survival in renal transplantation. Recent clinical studies highlight the prevalence of human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQ antibodies amongst de novo donor-specific antibodies (DSAs), yet the specific contribution of these DSAs to rejection has not been examined. Antibody-mediated rejection primarily targets the microvasculature, so this study explored how patient HLA-DQ alloantibodies can modulate endothelial activation and so immunoregulation. HLA-DQ antibodies phosphorylated Akt and S6 kinase in microvascular endothelial cells. This activation prior to culture with alloreactive lymphocytes increased IL-6 and RANTES secretion. The antibody-mediated upregulation of IL-6 was indeed Akt-dependent. The binding of HLA-DQ antibodies to endothelial cells selectively reduced T cell alloproliferation and FoxP3high Treg differentiation. In clinical studies, detection of HLA-DQ DSAs with other DSAs is associated with worse graft survival than either alone. Endothelial cells stimulated with HLA-DR and HLA-DQ antibodies showed a synergistic increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion and a decrease in Treg expansion. HLA-DQ antibodies strongly promote pro-inflammatory responses in isolation and in combination with other HLA antibodies. Thus, our data give new insights into the pathogenicity of HLA-DQ DSAs.