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Discovering novel injury features in kidney transplant biopsies associated with TCMR and donor aging


We previously characterized the molecular changes in acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in kidney transplant biopsies, but parenchymal changes selective for specific types of injury could be missed by such analyses. The present study searched for injury changes beyond AKI and CKD related to specific scenarios, including correlations with donor age. We defined injury using previously defined gene sets and classifiers and used principal component analysis to discover new injury dimensions. As expected, Dimension 1 distinguished normal vs. injury, and Dimension 2 separated early AKI from late CKD, correlating with time posttransplant. However, Dimension 3 was novel, distinguishing a set of genes related to epithelial polarity (e.g. PARD3) that were increased in early AKI and decreased in T cell-mediated rejection (TCMR) but not in antibody-mediated rejection. Dimension 3 was increased in kidneys from older donors and was particularly important in survival of early kidneys. Thus high Dimension 3 scores emerge as a previously unknown element in the kidney response-to-injury that affects epithelial polarity genes and is increased in AKI but depressed in TCMR, indicating that in addition to general injury elements, certain injury elements are selective for specific pathologic mechanisms. ( NCT01299168).

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  1. Halloran PF, Böhmig GA, Bromberg JS, Budde K, Gupta G, Einecke G, Eskandary F, Madill-Thomsen K, Reeve J; INTERCOMEX investigators. Discovering novel injury features in kidney transplant biopsies associated with TCMR and donor aging. Am J Transplant. 2020 Oct 26. doi: 10.1111/ajt.16374. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33107191.