We assessed the molecular phenotype of 107 6-week protocol biopsies from human renal allografts, using Affymetrix microarrays. Transcript changes were summarized as nonoverlapping pathogenesis-based transcript sets (PBTs) reflecting inflammation (T cells, macrophages, IFNG effects) and the injury-repair response of the parenchyma, stroma and microcirculation-increased ('injury-up') and decreased ('injury-down') transcripts. The molecular changes were highly correlated with each other, even when all rejection and borderline cases were excluded. Inflammation and injury-down PBTs correlated with histologic inflammation and tubulitis, and the inflammation transcripts were greater in kidneys diagnosed as T cell-mediated or borderline rejection. Injury-up PBTs did not correlate with histopathology but did correlate with kidney function: thus functional disturbances are represented in transcript changes but not in histopathology. PBT changes correlated with prior delayed graft function. However, there was little difference between live donor kidneys and deceased donor kidneys that had not shown delayed graft function. Molecular changes did not predict future biopsies for clinical indications, rejection episodes, functional deterioration or allograft loss. Thus while detecting T cell-mediated inflammation, the molecular phenotype of early protocol biopsies mostly reflects the injury-repair response to implantation stresses, and has little relationship to future events and outcomes.
©2010 The Authors Journal compilation©2010 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.