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Keywords:

  • Acute allograft rejection;
  • biomarker;
  • bioinformatics;
  • renal allograft rejection;
  • renal transplantation;
  • transplantation;
  • transplantation genomics;
  • transplant rejection;
  • translational research

Monitoring of renal graft status through peripheral blood (PB) rather than invasive biopsy is important as it will lessen the risk of infection and other stresses, while reducing the costs of rejection diagnosis. Blood gene biomarker panels were discovered by microarrays at a single center and subsequently validated and cross-validated by QPCR in the NIH SNSO1 randomized study from 12 US pediatric transplant programs. A total of 367 unique human PB samples, each paired with a graft biopsy for centralized, blinded phenotype classification, were analyzed (115 acute rejection (AR), 180 stable and 72 other causes of graft injury). Of the differentially expressed genes by microarray, Q-PCR analysis of a five gene-set (DUSP1, PBEF1, PSEN1, MAPK9 and NKTR) classified AR with high accuracy. A logistic regression model was built on independent training-set (n = 47) and validated on independent test-set (n = 198)samples, discriminating AR from STA with 91% sensitivity and 94% specificity and AR from all other non-AR phenotypes with 91% sensitivity and 90% specificity. The 5-gene set can diagnose AR potentially avoiding the need for invasive renal biopsy. These data support the conduct of a prospective study to validate the clinical predictive utility of this diagnostic tool.