Plasma protein biosignatures for detection of cardiac allograft vasculopathy

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2013 Jul;32(7):723-33. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2013.04.011.


Background: Coronary angiography remains the most widely used tool for routine screening and diagnosis of cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV), a major pathologic process that develops in 50% of cardiac transplant recipients beyond the first year after transplant. Given the invasiveness, expense, discomfort, and risk of complications associated with angiography, a minimally invasive alternative that is sensitive and specific would be highly desirable for monitoring CAV in patients.

Methods: Plasma proteomic analysis using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation-matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization double time-of-flight mass spectrometry was carried out on samples from 40 cardiac transplant patients (10 CAV, 9 non-significant CAV, 21 possible CAV). Presence of CAV was defined as left anterior descending artery diameter stenosis ≥ 40% by digital angiography and quantitatively measured by blinded expert appraisal. Moderated t-test robust-linear models for microarray data were used to identify biomarkers that are significantly differentially expressed between patient samples with CAV and with non-significant CAV. A proteomic panel for diagnosis of CAV was generated using the Elastic Net classification method.

Results: We identified an 18-plasma protein biomarker classifier panel that was able to classify and differentiate patients with angiographically significant CAV from those without significant CAV, with an 80% sensitivity and 89% specificity, while providing insight into the possible underlying immune and non-alloimmune contributory mechanisms of CAV.

Conclusion: Our results support of the potential utility of proteomic biomarker panels as a minimally invasive means to identify patients with significant, angiographically detectable coronary artery stenosis in the cardiac allograft, in the context of post-cardiac transplantation monitoring and screening for CAV. The potential biologic significance of the biomarkers identified may also help improve our understanding of CAV pathophysiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Proteins / analysis*
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteomics
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Vascular Diseases / blood*
  • Vascular Diseases / etiology*


  • Blood Proteins