World journal of urology

Urine protein profiling identified alpha-1-microglobulin and haptoglobin as biomarkers for early diagnosis of acute allograft rejection following kidney transplantation.

PMID 24549629


Early diagnosis of acute rejection and effective immunosuppressive therapy lead to improvement in graft survival following kidney transplantation. In this study, we aimed to establish a urinary protein profile suitable to distinguish between patients with rejection and stable graft function and to predict acute rejection based on postoperatively collected urine samples. A further objective was to identify candidate proteins for the use as biomarkers in clinical practice. Urine samples of 116 kidney recipients were included. Rejection was proven by biopsy (n = 58), and stable transplant function was monitored for at least 2 years (n = 58). Postoperative urine samples were collected between 3rd and 10th day following transplantation. Urinary protein profiles were obtained by surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Protein identification and validation were performed using multiplex fluorescence 2DE, peptide mass fingerprinting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. A protein profile including four mass peaks differentiated acute rejection from stable transplants at the time point of rejection and at the postoperative state with 73 % sensitivity and 88 % specificity. Alpha-1-microglobulin (A1MG) and Haptoglobin (Hp) were identified as putative rejection biomarkers. Protein levels were significantly higher in postoperative urine from patients with rejection (A1MG 29.13 vs. 22.06 μg/ml, p = 0.001; Hp 628.34 vs. 248.57 ng/ml, p = 0.003). The combination of both proteins enabled the diagnosis of early rejection with 85 % sensitivity and 80 % specificity. Protein profiling using mass spectrometry is suitable for noninvasive detection of rejection-specific changes following kidney transplantation. A specific protein profile enables the prediction of early acute allograft rejection in the immediate postoperative period. A1MG and Hp appear to be reliable rejection biomarkers.