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Kidney Transplant Outcomes Depend On Gender

Armen Hareyan's picture

Female patients receiving kidney transplants from male donors have higher risk for rejecting the new kidney than male patients receiving organs from female donors.

A team of researchers from University Hospital in Basel examined 195,516 kidney transplant cases taken place between 1985 and 2004 at 400 European hospitals. Female patients who received kidney transplants from male donors were 8% more likely to have a graft failure (new organ rejection) and 11% more likely to die from graft failure than the male patients during the first year after the surgery. The likelihood decreases to 6% and 10% accordingly ten years after the surgery.

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Researchers also found that male transplant patients benefit from bigger kidneys, because the bigger the organ is, the more the number of nephrons (basic elements of kidney) are. Women patients don't need too many nephrons to have a successful transplant outcome. Contrary to the male patients, the more nephrons are, the more risk for rejecting transplant organ is.

"Our multi-variable analysis showed that transplantation of kidneys from male donor into female recipients caused an increased rate of graft failure, which suggests an immunological H-Y effect in renal transplantation during the first year after transplantation that extends to 10 years of follow-up. Consideration of sex should be integrated into future prospective analyses and decisions on organ allocation," researchers wrote.

This is not the first study showing that gender is an important issue when it comes to transplant surgeries. Previous studies have already proved that in donor-transplant cases the gender should match in stem-cell transplant surgeries as well.

Researchers suggest that H-Y antigens should be considered before implementing kidney transplant surgery. The gender of the transplant receiving patient and donor should match to avoid later health complications. However, researchers also mention that currently there is lack of donors and that a strong requirement of donor gender matching could not be implemented yet.