BACKGROUND: Organ transplantation into sensitized patients with preexisting donor-specific antibodies (DSA) is very challenging. Spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) promotes leukocyte recruitment and activation via signalling through various cell surface receptors. We investigated whether a selective Syk inhibitor (GS-492429) could suppress antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) in a rat model of AMR in sensitized recipients. METHODS: Recipient Lewis rats (RT1) were immunized with donor (Dark Agouti, RT1) spleen cells (day -5). Recipients underwent bilateral nephrectomy and orthotopic renal transplantation (day 0). Cellular rejection was minimized by tacrolimus treatment from day -1. Groups received GS-492429 (30mg/kg/bid) (n=11) or vehicle (n=12) from 1hr before transplantation until being killed on day 3. RESULTS: Vehicle treated recipients developed graft dysfunction on day 1 which rapidly worsened by day 3. Histology showed severe damage (thrombosis, acute tubular injury, capillaritis) and infiltration of many Syk leukocytes. GS-492429 did not affect graft dysfunction on day 1, but treatment reduced allograft damage and prevented the rapid deterioration of graft function on day 3. GS-492429 reduced the prominent macrophage infiltrate and reduced the M1 proinflammatory response. Neutrophil and NK cell infiltration and capillary thrombosis were also significantly reduced by GS-492429 treatment. Serum DSA levels and the deposition of IgG and C4d in the allograft were equivalent in the 2 groups. CONCLUSION: Treatment with a Syk inhibitor significantly reduced renal allograft injury in a model of severe antibody-mediated damage in highly sensitized recipients. Further studies are warranted to determine whether Syk inhibition is a potential adjunctive treatment in clinical AMR.