2020 Volume 41 Issue 2 Pages 81-90
Antibody-mediated rejection (ABMR) is an important cause of both short- and long-term injury to renal allografts. Transplant glomerulopathy (TG) is strongly associated with ABMR and reduced graft survival. Ultrastructural changes in early-stage ABMR include TG as a duplication of the glomerular basement membrane (GBM), which can be observed only by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Low-vacuum scanning electron microscopy (LVSEM) is a new technique that allows comparatively inexpensive, rapid, and convenient observations with high magnification. We analyzed human renal transplants using LVSEM and evaluated the ultrastructural changes representing TG in ABMR. GBM duplication was more clearly visible in the LVSEM images than in the light microscopy (LM) images. In the ABMR group, the cg score of the Banff classification was higher in 54% (7/13) of specimens for LVSEM images than for LM images. And 4 specimens exhibited duplication of the GBM analyzed by LVSEM, but not by LM. In addition, three-dimensional ultrastructural changes, such as coarse meshwork structures of GBM, were observed in ABMR specimens. The ABMR group also exhibited ultrastructural changes in the peritubular capillary basement membranes. In conclusion, analyses of renal transplant tissues using LVSEM allows the identification of GBM duplication and ultrastructural changes of basement membranes at the electron microscopic level, and is useful for early-stage diagnosis of ABMR.