Research Group

  • Dr Emmanuel Zorn, Principal Investigator
  • Dr Fabrice Porcheray, Research Associate


  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA


  • Characterization of Immune Cells Contributing to the Rejection of Transplanted Kidneys in Humans

Transplantation is currently the treatment of choice for a number of terminal kidney diseases, offering a much better quality of life than dialysis. In 2006, more than 17,000 kidney transplantations were performed in the United States and the number of people on the waiting list for such transplantation continues to grow yearly. Considerable progress has been made in the past decades in handling transplant recipients and preventing rejection of kidney grafts. Yet, cases of rejection that are not fully elucidated still occur. In recent years, a renewed attention has focused on a specific type of immune cells that may contribute to kidney graft rejection.

These cells, called B lymphocytes, which normally circulate in the blood, seem to infiltrate kidneys in large numbers at the time of rejection. Several studies from renowned research institutions across the country and abroad have begun to examine these cells more closely. It appears that the presence of these cells in the graft is associated with more severe forms of rejection. The exact role of these cells in the graft, however, is currently unknown. In our proposed research we will extract these B lymphocytes from rejected kidney grafts that have been surgically removed from the patients and investigate their function. Through a series of experiments we anticipate uncovering how these cells participate in the immune responses of the recipients to their foreign grafts. We also expect that our studies will help to develop new treatment for graft rejection by counteracting the function of these cells.