The history of renal transplantation in France began with 2 surgeons from Lyon, M. Jaboulay and A. Carrel. The latter initiated the proper techniques of vascular suture, performed the first experiments in animals, initially in Lyon, then in Chicago with C. Guthrie and demonstrated that failure in obtaining a prolonged success was due to an immunological rejection of the graft. Trials in humans began in France in the 1950s with transplants from healthy donors. All ended in failure, although in 1953 the conjunction of a donor mother and a previous irradiation of the recipient allowed a survival of 3 weeks in the patient. J. Hamburger in France and J. Murray in the USA tried transplantations in monozygotic twins, then dizygotic ones, which represented the first successes. A decisive jump occurred with the arrival of immunosuppressors (combination of azathioprine and prednisone) which allowed R. Küss to win the first success in recipients that were unrelated to their donors. At the same time, J. Dausset described the Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) groups, markers of tissular immunogenicity, thus allowing the most appropriate donors to be selected. To the living donors were added soon the patients in irreversible coma, which made it possible to increase the number of grafts. Despite obstacles and doubts, kidney transplantation developed rapidly and was accepted as the most efficient treatment of chronic renal failure. The role of French and American physicians was decisive in this success.
Keywords: transplantation, kidney, history