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Gender Outcomes in Kidney Transplants Examined

Last Updated: July 31, 2009.

Women who undergo kidney transplant from a male donor have a 12 percent higher risk of graft failure than all other gender combinations, but at the 10-year point the risk is the same, according to a study published online June 18 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

FRIDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- Women who undergo kidney transplant from a male donor have a 12 percent higher risk of graft failure than all other gender combinations, but at the 10-year point the risk is the same, according to a study published online June 18 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

S. Joseph Kim, M.D., of the University of Toronto, and John S. Gill, M.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, conducted a study of 117,877 kidney transplant recipients in the U.S. Renal Data System from 1990 to 2004 and compared one- and 10-year graft failure rates for different donor and recipient gender combinations.

They found that women who underwent kidney transplant from a male donor had a 12 percent increased risk for graft failure at one year when compared with other donor-patient gender combinations. However, at 10 years, there was no increased risk. Women who received kidneys from men also had an increased risk of death at one year but not 10 years. The 12 percent increased risk of graft failure for female recipients may be due to the female recipients' immune response to H-Y antigens derived from the male chromosome, the investigators note.

"Although H-Y antigens are widely distributed in various human tissues, the degree of expression of the H-Y peptide (which is relevant for the immune response) seems to vary as a function of the type of tissue," the authors write. "H-Y peptide expression seems to be highest in the cells of hematopoietic lineage. This may account for the importance of the H-Y effect in the outcomes of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation."

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