Background: Preservation of deceased donor kidneys by hypothermic machine perfusion results in superior transplant outcomes as compared with static cold storage and provides the opportunity to measure biomarkers of cellular injury in perfusate samples. Identification of biomarkers predicting early graft dysfunction so far has met with limited success.
Methods: Two-dimensional difference gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry were used to explore the proteome of perfusate samples from machine-perfused human donor kidneys (N = 18) and to discover novel biomarkers of ischaemic acute kidney injury.
Results: Thirty-two protein spots were successfully identified, representing 19 unique proteins that were derived from renal tissue and from residual plasma in the renal microcirculation. Two unidentified protein spots were significantly up-regulated, whereas one protein spot--identified as haptoglobin--was significantly down-regulated in the perfusate of ischaemically injured kidneys from donors after cardiac death as compared with kidneys from brain-dead donors who had not suffered warm ischaemic injury. Furthermore, two protein spots were up-regulated in kidneys that never functioned after transplantation, whereas one spot was up-regulated--identified as α1-antitrypsin--in kidneys with delayed graft function.
Conclusions: We provide the first description of the renal perfusate proteome and present preliminary evidence of differentially expressed biomarkers in human donor kidneys with different levels of acute ischaemic injury. Their diagnostic value for the selection of marginal kidneys in clinical transplantation should be determined in future studies.