Kidney transplantation (KT) outcomes have significantly improved with calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) administration. In recent years, the dose of CNIs has been reduced, and everolimus (EVR) has been used in combination with CNIs to avoid complications from the long-term use of CNIs. However, T-cell immune responses to these protocols have not been fully evaluated. This study evaluated the anti-donor T-cell responses to our CNI-sparing regimen.
Fifty-five de novo KT patients were enrolled. Three months after KT, the patients were randomly assigned to either the EVR group, which received low-dose cyclosporine (CsA) (n = 28), or the standard-exposure CsA control group (n = 27), which was treated with both mycophenolate mofetil and methylprednisolone. Graft function, adverse events, and immunologic status were evaluated 3 years after KT. Mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) assays were performed to evaluate anti-donor T-cell responses in KT patients.
Both groups maintained graft function well, but total cholesterol levels tended to increase annually in the EVR group. The incidence of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection tended to be lower in the EVR group, regardless of the CMV serologic status. Immunologic evaluation by MLR assay showed that anti-donor T-cell responses were adequately maintained in both groups.
EVR starting 3 months after KT can reduce the trough levels of CsA without affecting graft function or compromising the immunosuppressive effects. The EVR combination protocol is expected to reduce CNI toxicity and improve long-term prognosis after KT.

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