Despite an increasing amount of immunohistochemical and molecular biology data relating to the pathogenesis of kidney transplant rejection, the pathological diagnosis of this condition still rests on routine light microscopy. The detection of changes in expression and distribution of adhesion molecules in renal allograft biopsies may open a new era of increased accuracy of rejection diagnosis. Of the various adhesion molecule reactivities, peritubular capillary VCAM-1 staining appears to be the most specific finding for chronic rejection. This same staining reaction is seen a acute rejection, but may have less specificity in that setting.
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