Assessing the metabolic effects of calcineurin inhibitors in renal transplant recipients by urine metabolic profiling.

PMID 24598938


Biomarkers that can predict graft function and/or renal side effects of calcineurin inhibitors (CNI) at each stage of treatment in kidney transplantation are still lacking. We report the first untargeted GC-MS-based metabolomic study on urines of renal transplant patients. This approach would bring insight in biomarkers useable for graft function monitoring. All consecutive patients receiving a kidney allograft in our transplantation department over a 6-month period were prospectively included and followed up for 12 months. We collected urine samples on the seventh day (D7) after transplantation, then at month 3 (M3) and month 12 (M12), and obtained mass-spectrometry-based urinary metabolic profiles. Multivariate analyses were conducted to compare metabolic profiles at the 3 different periods and to assess potential differences between cyclosporine and tacrolimus. Differences in metabolic signatures were also assessed according to graft function at D7 and renal function at M3 and M12. The urinary metabolic patterns varied over time in cyclosporine- and tacrolimus-treated patients and were somewhat different at D7, M3, and M12 between the 2 treatment groups. Principal metabolites that differed, regardless of the treatment used, were mainly sugars, inositol, and hippuric acid. Interestingly, among tacrolimus-treated patients, different metabolic signatures were found between patients with immediate or delayed graft function at D7. Urinary metabolomics represents a noninvasive way of monitoring immunosuppressive therapy in renal transplant patients. Although it is too early to consider it as a biomarker of CNI-induced injury or graft function, metabolomics appears a promising evaluation tool in this area.