Background. After transplantation renal allografts frequently develop interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy, and these pathologic changes are the hallmarks of chronic allograft nephropathy (CN). However, the diagnosis of CN has no specific pathogenic implications. In this study we sought to determined whether a subclassification of CN according to vascular pathology correlates with posttransplant events, particularly acute rejection, and graft survival. Methods. A total of 419 patients with moderate to severe CN were subdivided into: (1) transplant arteriopathy (TA, n=233, 56%); (2) arteriolar hyalinosis (AH, n=89, 21%); and (3) no characteristic vascular pathology (IFb, n=97, 23%). Results. Patients with AH differed significantly from patients with TA or IFb in the following parameters: (1) AH was diagnosed later after transplantation (P=0.001); (2) fewer patients with AH had acute rejection (AR) before the diagnosis of CN (P<0.0001). For example, 44% of AH and 75% of TA had AR before CN; (3) patients with AH also had fewer AR episodes than the other two groups (P<0.0001); finally, (4) graft survival was better in patients with AH than in patients with TA (P=0,01 by χ2, P=0.001 by Cox). In contrast, there were no significant differences between patients with TA and IFb. By multivariate analysis the survival of grafts with CN correlated with: (1) serum creatinine at diagnosis (P<0.0001), (2) recipient's weight (P=0.004); (3) presence of FGS or level of proteinuria (P=0.03); and (4) the occurrence of AR after the diagnosis of CN (P<0.0001). Regarding the latter, AR were more common (P=0.007) and more numerous (P=0.005) in patients with TA or IFb than in AH. Conclusions. CN can be classified according to vascular pathology in the majority of cases, and this classification correlates with graft survival. Although some forms of CN are closely associated with the occurrence of AR others are not. This study also uncovered several variables that correlate with the survival of grafts with CN.
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