Immune Repertoire Profiling Reveals that Clonally Expanded B and T Cells Infiltrating Diseased Human Kidneys Can Also Be Tracked in Blood

PLoS One. 2015 Nov 23;10(11):e0143125. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143125. eCollection 2015.


Recent advances in high-throughput sequencing allow for the competitive analysis of the human B and T cell immune repertoire. In this study we compared Immunoglobulin and T cell receptor repertoires of lymphocytes found in kidney and blood samples of 10 patients with various renal diseases based on next-generation sequencing data. We used Biomed-2 primer panels and ImmunExplorer software to sequence, analyze and compare complementarity determining regions and V-(D)-J elements. While generally an individual's renal receptor repertoire is different from the repertoire present in blood, 94% (30/32) of the lymphocytes with clonal expansion in kidney can also be traced in blood however, not all of these clonotypes are equally abundant. Summarizing the data of all analyzed patients, 68% of highly expanded T cell clonotypes and 30% of the highly expanded B cell clonotypes that have infiltrated the kidney can be found amongst the five most abundant clonotypes in blood. In addition, complementarity determining region 3 sequences of the immunoglobulin heavy chains are on average more diverse than T cell receptor beta chains. Immune repertoire analysis of tissue infiltrating B and T cells adds new approaches to the assessment of adaptive immune response in kidney diseases. Our data suggest that expanded clonotypes in the tissues might be traceable in blood samples in the course of treatment or the natural history of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Clone Cells
  • Complementarity Determining Regions / chemistry
  • Complementarity Determining Regions / immunology
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Kidney / immunology*
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / blood*
  • Kidney Diseases / immunology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • VDJ Exons / genetics
  • Young Adult


  • Complementarity Determining Regions

Grant support

This work was supported by Austrian Science Funds P25726 ( and European Regional Development Funds DAABAA_00720 (