[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Because the kidney allograft has the potential to function as an in-vivo flow cytometer and facilitate the access of immune cells and kidney parenchymal cells in to the urinary space, we hypothesized that mRNA profiling of urinary cells offers a noninvasive means of assessing the kidney allograft status. We overcame the inherent challenges of urinary cell mRNA profiling by developing pre-amplification protocols to compensate for low RNA yield from urinary cells and by developing robust protocols for absolute quantification mRNAs using RT-PCR assays. Armed with these tools, we undertook first single-center studies urinary cell mRNA profiling and then embarked on the multicenter Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation-04 study of kidney transplant recipients. We report here our discovery and validation of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of acute cellular rejection and of interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy (IF/TA). Our urinary cell mRNA profiling studies, in addition to demonstrating the feasibility of accurate diagnosis of acute cellular rejection and IF/TA in the kidney allograft, advance mechanistic and potentially targetable biomarkers. Interventional trials, guided by urinary cell mRNA profiles, may lead to personalized immunosuppression in recipients of kidney allografts.
Article · May 2014 · Transplantation reviews (Orlando, Fla.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Noninvasive tests to differentiate the basis for acute dysfunction of the kidney allograft are preferable to invasive allograft biopsies. We measured absolute levels of 26 prespecified mRNAs in urine samples collected from kidney graft recipients at the time of for-cause biopsy for acute allograft dysfunction and investigated whether differential diagnosis of acute graft dysfunction is feasible using urinary cell mRNA profiles. We profiled 52 urine samples from 52 patients with biopsy specimens indicating acute rejection (26 acute T cell-mediated rejection and 26 acute antibody-mediated rejection) and 32 urine samples from 32 patients with acute tubular injury without acute rejection. A stepwise quadratic discriminant analysis of mRNA measures identified a linear combination of mRNAs for CD3ε, CD105, TLR4, CD14, complement factor B, and vimentin that distinguishes acute rejection from acute tubular injury; 10-fold cross-validation of the six-gene signature yielded an estimate of the area under the curve of 0.92 (95% confidence interval, 0.86 to 0.98). In a decision analysis, the six-gene signature yielded the highest net benefit across a range of reasonable threshold probabilities for biopsy. Next, among patients diagnosed with acute rejection, a similar statistical approach identified a linear combination of mRNAs for CD3ε, CD105, CD14, CD46, and 18S rRNA that distinguishes T cell-mediated rejection from antibody-mediated rejection, with a cross-validated estimate of the area under the curve of 0.81 (95% confidence interval, 0.68 to 0.93). Incorporation of these urinary cell mRNA signatures in clinical decisions may reduce the number of biopsies in patients with acute dysfunction of the kidney allograft.
Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Kidney allograft status is currently characterized using the invasive percutaneous needle core biopsy procedure. The procedure has become safer over the years, but challenges and complications still exist including sampling error, interobserver variability, bleeding, arteriovenous fistula, graft loss, and even death. Because the most common type of acute rejection is distinguished by inflammatory cells exiting the intravascular compartment and gaining access to the renal tubular space, we reasoned that a kidney allograft may function as an in vivo flow cytometer and sort cells involved in rejection into urine. To test this idea, we developed quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays for absolute quantification of mRNA and pre-amplification protocols to overcome the low RNA yield from urine. Here, we review our single center urinary cell mRNA profiling studies that led to the multicenter Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation (CTOT-04) study and the discovery and validation of a 3-gene signature of 18S rRNA-normalized measures of CD3ε mRNA and IP-10 mRNA and 18S rRNA that is diagnostic and predictive of acute cellular rejection in the kidney allograft. We also review our development of a 4-gene signature of mRNAs for vimentin, NKCC2, E-cadherin, and 18S rRNA diagnostic of interstitial fibrosis/tubular atrophy (IF/TA).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Because the kidney allograft has the potential to function as an in-vivo flowcytometer and facilitate the access of immune cells and kidney parenchymal cells in to the urinary space, we hypothesized that mRNA profiling of urinary cells offers a noninvasive means of assessing the kidney allograft status. We overcame the inherent challenges of urinary cell mRNA profiling by developing pre-amplification protocols to compensate for low RNA yield from urinary cells and by developing robust protocols for absolute quantification mRNAs using RT-PCR assays. Armed with these tools, we undertook first single-center studies urinary cell mRNA profiling and then embarked on the multicenter Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation-04 study of kidney transplant recipients. We report here our discovery and validation of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of acute cellular rejection and of interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy (IF/TA). Our urinary cell mRNA profiling studies, in addition to demonstrating the feasibility of accurate diagnosis of acute cellular rejection and IF/TA in the kidney allograft, advance mechanistic and potentially targetable biomarkers. Interventional trials, guided by urinary cell mRNA profiles, may lead to personalized immunosuppression in recipients of kidney allografts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
The standard test for the diagnosis of acute rejection in kidney transplants is the renal biopsy. Noninvasive tests would be preferable.
We prospectively collected 4300 urine specimens from 485 kidney-graft recipients from day 3 through month 12 after transplantation. Messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were measured in urinary cells and correlated with allograft-rejection status with the use of logistic regression.
A three-gene signature of 18S ribosomal (rRNA)-normalized measures of CD3ε mRNA and interferon-inducible protein 10 (IP-10) mRNA, and 18S rRNA discriminated between biopsy specimens showing acute cellular rejection and those not showing rejection (area under the curve [AUC], 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.78 to 0.91; P<0.001 by receiver-operating-characteristic curve analysis). The cross-validation estimate of the AUC was 0.83 by bootstrap resampling, and the Hosmer-Lemeshow test indicated good fit (P=0.77). In an external-validation data set, the AUC was 0.74 (95% CI, 0.61 to 0.86; P<0.001) and did not differ significantly from the AUC in our primary data set (P=0.13). The signature distinguished acute cellular rejection from acute antibody-mediated rejection and borderline rejection (AUC, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.68 to 0.89; P<0.001). It also distinguished patients who received anti-interleukin-2 receptor antibodies from those who received T-cell-depleting antibodies (P<0.001) and was diagnostic of acute cellular rejection in both groups. Urinary tract infection did not affect the signature (P=0.69). The average trajectory of the signature in repeated urine samples remained below the diagnostic threshold for acute cellular rejection in the group of patients with no rejection, but in the group with rejection, there was a sharp rise during the weeks before the biopsy showing rejection (P<0.001).
A molecular signature of CD3ε mRNA, IP-10 mRNA, and 18S rRNA levels in urinary cells appears to be diagnostic and prognostic of acute cellular rejection in kidney allografts. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).
Article · Jul 2013 · New England Journal of Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Gene expression profiling of transplant recipient blood and urine can potentially be used to monitor graft function, but the multitude of protocols in use make sharing data and comparing results from different laboratories difficult. The goal of this study was to evaluate the performance of current methods of RNA isolation, reverse transcription and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and to test whether multiple centers using a standardized protocol can obtain the same results. Samples, reagents and detailed instructions were distributed to six participating sites that performed RNA isolation, reverse transcription and qPCR for 18S, PRF, GZB, IL8, CXCL9 and CXCL10 as instructed. All data were analyzed at a single site. All sites demonstrated proficiency in RNA isolation and qPCR analysis. Gene expression measurements for all targets and samples had correlations >0.938. The coefficient of variation of fold-changes between pairs of samples was less than 40%. All sites were able to accurately quantify a control sample of known concentration within a factor of 1.5. Collectively, we have formulated and validated detailed methods for measuring gene expression in blood and urine that can yield consistent results in multiple laboratories.
Full-text Article · Jul 2013 · American Journal of Transplantation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
BK virus-associated nephropathy (BKVN) is associated with an increased risk of graft failure.
Levels of mRNAs encoding proteins implicated in inflammation and fibrosis were measured in urine collected at the time of biopsy diagnosis of BKVN in 29 kidney graft recipients and analyzed for prognosticating graft failure using logistic regression.
Ten of 29 BKVN patients had graft failure within 36 months of BKVN diagnosis and the remaining 19 patients did not. Serum creatinine level, BKVN biopsy stage, and urinary cell levels of mRNA for plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1, vimentin, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1, fibronectin, granzyme B, or perforin were associated with graft failure. A combination of PAI-1 mRNA level, BKVN biopsy stage, and creatinine level (P = 0.0015, by logistic regression) and a combination of PAI-1 mRNA and creatinine levels (P = 0.001) were the best-fitting models for prognosticating graft failure, and PAI-1 mRNA level was the only independent predictor (odds ratio, 2.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1-6.8; P = 0.03) by multivariable analysis. The area under the curve for the combination of PAI-1 mRNA, biopsy, and creatinine was 0.92 (95% CI, 0.80-1.0; P < 0.001) by receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, and the area under the curve was 0.92 (95% CI, 0.80-1.0; P < 0.001) for the combination of PAI-1 mRNA and creatinine. Graft outcome was correctly predicted in 27 of 29 BKVN patients by either model.
Urinary cell level of PAI-1 mRNA, measured at the time of BKVN diagnosis, is an independent prognosticator of graft failure and a prediction model of serum creatinine and PAI-1 mRNA is as accurate as the model that includes the biopsy result.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
The outcome of HIV-infected kidney transplant recipients managed with an early corticosteroid withdrawal protocol is not known.
Eleven consecutive HIV-infected patients with undetectable plasma HIV RNA and more than 200/mm CD4 T cells underwent deceased-donor (n=8) or living-donor (n=3) kidney transplantation at our center. All were managed with an early corticosteroid withdrawal protocol; 9 of 11 received antithymocyte globulin and 2 received basiliximab induction. We analyzed patient and graft outcomes, acute rejection rate, HIV progression, BKV replication, infections, and urinary cell mRNA profiles.
The median (range) follow-up was 44.5 (26-73) months. The incidence of acute rejection was 9% at 1 year and the patient and allograft survival rates were 100% and 91%, respectively. Estimated glomerular filtration rate at 1 year (mean ± SD) was 78 ± 39 mL/min/1.73 m. Plasma HIV RNA was undetectable at 24 months and none had BKV replication. Six of the 11 kidney recipients developed eight infections requiring hospitalization. Urinary cell levels of mRNA for complement components and complement regulatory proteins, cell lineage-specific proteins CD3, CD4, CD8, CTLA4, Foxp3, chemokine IP-10, cytotoxic perforin and granzyme B, and BKV VP1 mRNA were not different (P>0.05) between HIV-infected patients and HIV-negative recipients (n=22) with stable graft function and normal biopsy results.
An early steroid withdrawal regimen with antithymocyte globulin induction was associated with excellent graft and patient outcomes in HIV-infected recipients of kidney allografts. Their urinary cell mRNA profiles are indistinguishable from those of HIV-negative patients with stable graft function and normal biopsy results.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Tubulointerstitial fibrosis (fibrosis), a histologic feature associated with a failing kidney allograft, is diagnosed using the invasive allograft biopsy. A noninvasive diagnostic test for fibrosis may help improve allograft outcome.
We obtained 114 urine specimens from 114 renal allograft recipients: 48 from 48 recipients with fibrosis in their biopsy results and 66 from 66 recipients with normal biopsy results. Levels of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in urinary cells were measured using kinetic, quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays, and the levels were related to allograft diagnosis. A discovery set of 76 recipients (32 with allograft fibrosis and 44 with normal biopsy results) was used to develop a diagnostic signature, and an independent validation set of 38 recipients (16 with allograft fibrosis and 22 with normal biopsy results) was used to validate the signature.
In the discovery set, urinary cell levels of the following mRNAs were significantly associated with the presence of allograft fibrosis: vimentin (P<0.0001, logistic regression model), hepatocyte growth factor (P<0.0001), α-smooth muscle actin (P<0.0001), fibronectin 1 (P<0.0001), perforin (P=0.0002), plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (P=0.0002), transforming growth factor β1 (P=0.0004), tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1 (P=0.0009), granzyme B (P=0.0009), fibroblast-specific protein 1 (P=0.006), CD103 (P=0.02), and collagen 1A1 (P=0.04). A four-gene model composed of the levels of mRNA for vimentin, NKCC2, and E-cadherin and of 18S ribosomal RNA provided the most accurate, parsimonious diagnostic model of allograft fibrosis with a sensitivity of 93.8% and a specificity of 84.1% (P<0.0001). In the independent validation set, this same model predicted the presence of allograft fibrosis with a sensitivity of 77.3% and a specificity of 87.5% (P<0.0001).
Measurement of mRNAs in urinary cells may offer a noninvasive means of diagnosing fibrosis in human renal allografts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Naturally occurring, thymic-derived Foxp3+CD25+CD4+ regulatory T cells (nTregs) are pivotal for the maintenance of self-tolerance. nTregs, however, are sparse and lack alloantigen specificity, and these properties pose challenges for their use in clinical transplantation.
We established mixed leukocyte reaction (MLR) with dendritic cells (DCs) as stimulators and CD4+ T cells as responders and supplemented the MLR with IL-2 and TGF-β1 and investigated whether DCs+IL-2+TGF-β1 differentiate the polyclonal CD4+ cells into alloantigen-specific and allograft protective Tregs.
We found a greater than a 10-fold increase in Foxp3+CD25+ subpopulation (P<0.01) following stimulation of BALB/c CD4+ cells with C57BL/6 (B6) CD11c+ DCs+IL-2+TGF-β1 in the MLR. Levels of TGF-β1 messenger RNA (mRNA) (P=0.01) and the ratios of TGF-β1 mRNA to granzyme B mRNA (P=0.0003) and Foxp3 mRNA to granzyme B mRNA (P<0.01) were higher in alloantigen-induced Tregs (alloTregs) compared with nTregs. alloTregs suppressed MLR at a 16:1 responder to suppressor ratio, whereas nTregs suppressed at 4:1. Suppression by alloTregs was alloantigen specific and was observed at the level of responder cells and at the level of stimulator cells. In a fully H-2-mismatched, nonlymphopenic, immunocompetent mouse islet transplantation model, alloTregs but not nTregs prolonged survival of islet allografts without any other immunosuppressive therapy (P=0.0003), and the protection was alloantigen specific.
A combination of CD11c+ DCs, IL-2, and TGF-β1 may help differentiate naive, high abundant CD4+ T into alloantigen-specific and allograft protective Foxp3+Tregs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The positive costimulatory proteins OX40 and OX40L and negative regulatory proteins programmed death (PD)-1, PD ligand 1, and PD ligand 2 have emerged as significant regulators of acute rejection in experimental transplantation models.
We obtained 21 urine specimens from 21 renal allograft recipients with graft dysfunction and biopsy-confirmed acute rejection and 25 specimens from 25 recipients with stable graft function and normal biopsy results (stable). Urinary cell levels of mRNAs were measured using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays, and the levels were correlated with allograft status and outcomes.
Levels of OX40 mRNA (P<0.0001, Mann-Whitney test), OX40L mRNA (P=0.0004), and PD-1 mRNA (P=0.004), but not the mRNA levels of PD ligand 1 (P=0.08) or PD ligand 2 (P=0.20), were significantly higher in the urinary cells from the acute rejection group than the stable group. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis demonstrated that acute rejection is predicted with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 92% (area under the curve=0.98, 95% confidence interval 0.96-1.0, P<0.0001) using a combination of levels of mRNA for OX40, OX40L, PD-1, and levels of mRNA for the previously identified biomarker Foxp3. Within the acute rejection group, levels of mRNA for OX40 (P=0.0002), OX40L (P=0.0004), and Foxp3 (P=0.04) predicted acute rejection reversal, whereas only OX40 mRNA levels (P=0.04) predicted graft loss after acute rejection.
A linear combination of urinary cell levels of mRNA for OX40, OX40L, PD-1, and Foxp3 was a strong predictor of acute rejection in human renal allograft biopsies. This prediction model should be validated using an independent cohort of renal allograft recipients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: A major unmet challenge is to reduce the islet mass needed for insulin independence in type 1 diabetic recipients after islet transplantation. The recombinant homodimer of human annexin V, diannexin, has completed a Phase II Clinical Trial in Kidney Transplantation (NCT00615966).
We developed a marginal islet mass transplantation model (10-12 islets per gram of recipient body weight) and investigated whether diannexin prevents β-cell apoptosis and improves islet graft function. Diannexin was administered to islet cell donors shortly before pancreas harvest, added to isolation reagents, and infused into recipients at the time of transplantation and repeated daily until day 4.
In the syngeneic marginal islet mass transplantation model, the median time needed to achieve normoglycemia was reduced from 17.0 days among untreated controls to 3.5 days among diannexin-treated recipients (P=0.004). Histologic analysis of islet grafts harvested on day 3 posttransplantation revealed decreased macrophage (44.7%±9.8% vs. 19.2%±3.2%, P=0.007) and T-cell infiltration (25.9%±5.5% vs. 9.1%±1.1%, P=0.004), and a lower rate of islet cell apoptosis (20.5%±2.8% vs. 7.6%±2.3%, P=0.01) with diannexin treatment. Expression profiling of the islet grafts showed significantly lower levels of mRNA for the proapoptotic molecule Bid, but higher levels of interleukin-6, interferon-γ, and immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin-10.
Our findings demonstrate that diannexin improves the early function of marginal mass islet grafts, and its effects are associated with reductions in inflammatory cell infiltration and β-cell death by apoptosis after islet transplantation.