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 ofmRNA 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.
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