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Delayed Kinetics of IgG, but Not IgA, Antispike Antibodies in Transplant Recipients following SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology  (IF10.121),  Pub Date : 2021-12-01, DOI: 10.1681/asn.2021040573
Paolo Cravedi, Patrick Ahearn, Lin Wang, Tanuja Yalamarti, Susan Hartzell, Yorg Azzi, Madhav C. Menon, Aditya Jain, Marzuq Billah, Marcelo Fernandez-Vina, Howard M. Gebel, E. Steve Woodle, Natalie S. Haddad, Andrea Morrison-Porter, F. Eun-Hyung Lee, Ignacio Sanz, Enver Akalin, Alin Girnita, Jonathan S. Maltzman


Kidney transplant recipients are at increased risk of severe outcomes during COVID-19. Antibodies against the virus are thought to offer protection, but a thorough characterization of anti–SARS-CoV-2 immune globulin isotypes in kidney transplant recipients following SARS-CoV-2 infection has not been reported.


We performed a cross-sectional study of 49 kidney transplant recipients and 42 immunocompetent controls at early (≤14 days) or late (>14 days) time points after documented SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using a validated semiquantitative Luminex-based multiplex assay, we determined the abundances of IgM, IgG, IgG1–4, and IgA antibodies against five distinct viral epitopes.


Kidney transplant recipients showed lower levels of total IgG antitrimeric spike (S), S1, S2, and receptor binding domain (RBD) but not nucleocapsid (NC) at early versus late time points after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Early levels of IgG antispike protein epitopes were also lower than in immunocompetent controls. Anti–SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were predominantly IgG1 and IgG3, with modest class switching to IgG2 or IgG4 in either cohort. Later levels of IgG antispike, S1, S2, RBD, and NC did not significantly differ between cohorts. There was no significant difference in the kinetics of either IgM or IgA antispike, S1, RBD, or S2 on the basis of timing after diagnosis or transplant status.


Kidney transplant recipients mount early anti–SARS-CoV-2 IgA and IgM responses, whereas IgG responses are delayed compared with immunocompetent individuals. These findings might explain the poor outcomes in transplant recipients with COVID-19.


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