Urinary liver-type fatty acid-binding protein is independently associated with graft failure in outpatient kidney transplant recipients

Am J Transplant. 2021 Apr;21(4):1535-1544. doi: 10.1111/ajt.16312. Epub 2020 Oct 11.


Urinary liver-type fatty acid-binding protein (uL-FABP) is a biomarker of kidney hypoxia and ischemia, and thus offers a novel approach to identify early kidney insults associated with increased risk of graft failure in outpatient kidney transplant recipients (KTR). We investigated whether uL-FABP is associated with graft failure and whether it improves risk prediction. We studied a cohort of 638 outpatient KTR with a functional graft ≥1-year. During a median follow-up of 5.3 years, 80 KTR developed graft failure. uL-FABP (median 2.11, interquartile range 0.93-7.37 µg/24"/>h) was prospectively associated with the risk of graft failure (hazard ratio 1.75; 95% confidence interval 1.27-2.41 per 1-SD increment; P = .001), independent of potential confounders including estimated glomerular filtration rate and proteinuria. uL-FABP showed excellent discrimination ability for graft failure (c-statistic of 0.83) and its addition to a prediction model composed by established clinical predictors of graft failure significantly improved the c-statistic to 0.89 (P for F-test <.001). These results were robust to several sensitivity analyses. Further validation studies are warranted to evaluate the potential use of a risk-prediction model including uL-FABP to improve identification of outpatient KTR at high risk of graft failure in clinical care.

Keywords: clinical research/practice; graft survival; kidney transplantation/nephrology; outpatient care; risk assessment/risk stratification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Liver
  • Outpatients
  • Transplant Recipients


  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins