Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Protein-Based Urine Test Predicts Kidney Transplant Outcomes

Published: Friday, August 23, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013
Bookmark and Share
NIH-funded study provides more evidence supporting development of non-invasive tests.

Levels of a protein in the urine of kidney transplant recipients can distinguish those at low risk of developing kidney injury from those at high risk, a study suggests. The results also suggest that low levels of this protein, called CXCL9, can rule out rejection as a cause of kidney injury. The study appears online Aug. 22 in the American Journal of Transplantation. The work was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

To prevent rejection, kidney transplant recipients typically take immunosuppressive drugs every day. However, these drugs can cause kidney damage and lead to other serious side effects such as cancer, infection and infertility. Even with immunosuppressive therapy, 10 to 15 percent of kidney recipients experience rejection during the first year after transplantation.

Currently, the only definitive way to distinguish rejection from other causes of kidney injury is by performing a biopsy, in which doctors remove a small piece of kidney tissue to look for rejection-associated damage. Although this procedure is generally considered safe, it carries some minor risks for the patient and does not always provide an accurate impression of the overall state of the kidney.

“A non-invasive urine test to accurately monitor the risk of kidney rejection could dramatically reduce the need for biopsies and possibly enable doctors to safely reduce immunosuppressive therapy in some patients,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “The results of this study support the further development of non-invasive tests for the detection and management of transplant rejection.”

In this multicenter Clinical Trials in Organ Transplantation study, doctors periodically collected urine samples from 280 adult and child kidney transplant recipients for two years after transplantation. Investigators led by Peter Heeger, M.D., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and Donald Hricik, M.D., of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, measured the urinary levels of molecules that had previously been associated with rejection. These included two proteins and nine messenger RNAs (mRNAs) — intermediary molecules in the construction of proteins from genes. They identified CXCL9 protein and CXCL9 mRNA as potential biomarkers — molecules that indicate the effect or progress of a disease — for the diagnosis of rejection. 

After further testing, the researchers found that CXCL9 protein was better at ruling out rejection than any of the mRNAs tested. Low levels of the protein biomarker also could identify patients likely to have stable long-term kidney function. Transplant recipients with low urinary CXCL9 protein six months after transplantation were unlikely to experience rejection or loss of kidney function over the next 18 months. In addition, detection of the protein in the urine of transplant recipients was more straightforward than measuring mRNA levels. While proteins can be measured directly in urine, mRNAs must first be extracted from urine samples. The researchers obtained sufficient mRNA from just 76 percent of samples, highlighting the technical challenges of extraction.

“The relative ease of measuring urinary proteins suggests that developing a protein-based urine test for use in clinical practice would be less complicated than an mRNA test,” said Daniel Rotrosen, M.D., director of NIAID’s Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation. “There is strong precedent for the development and use of tests that measure urinary proteins, such as home pregnancy tests.” 

CXCL9 protein levels also may be useful for predicting and monitoring transplant rejection. The investigators noted that urinary CXCL9 levels began to increase up to 30 days before clinical signs of kidney injury, which could allow doctors to intervene early to potentially avoid rejection-associated kidney damage. The protein levels began to drop after treatment for rejection, suggesting that the urine test could be used to monitor treatment progress.  

“Development of non-invasive tests to detect immune activation before kidney damage occurs would help guide the care of kidney transplant recipients,” said NIAID Transplantation Branch Chief Nancy Bridges, M.D., a co-author of the paper. “Clinical application of the findings from this study could help avoid unnecessary biopsies and excess immunosuppression.”

This study was supported by NIH grant number U01AI63594-06. The identifier for the study Non-invasive Methods to Monitor Graft Survival in Kidney Transplant Patients is NCT00308802.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

NIH Supports New Studies to Find Alzheimer’s Biomarkers in Down Syndrome
Initiative will track dementia onset, progress in Down syndrome volunteers.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Dementia Linked to Deficient DNA Repair
Mutant forms of breast cancer factor 1 (BRCA1) are associated with breast and ovarian cancers but according to new findings, in the brain the normal BRCA1 gene product may also be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Molecule Proves Key to Brain Repair After Stroke
Scientists found that a molecule known as growth and differentiation factor 10 (GDF10) plays a key role in repair mechanisms following stroke.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Nuclear Transport Problems Linked to ALS and FTD
NIH-supported studies point to potential new target for treating neurodegenerative diseases.
Monday, October 19, 2015
NIH Funding Targets Gaps in Biomedical Research
New awards support emerging issues in cutting-edge biomedical research fields.
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
NIH Framework Points The Way Forward For Developing The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative
The NIH Advisory Committee to the Director has presented to NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., a detailed design framework for building a national research participant group, called a cohort, of 1 million or more Americans to expand our knowledge and practice of precision medicine.
Monday, September 21, 2015
Beth Israel Cardiology Team Awarded $3 Million by NIH
Work will help predict outcomes in patients with heart disease.
Friday, September 18, 2015
Novel Mechanism to Explain Autoimmune Uveitis Proposed
A new study on mice suggests that bacteria in the gut may provide a kind of training ground for immune cells to attack the eye.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Nuclear Process in the Brain That May Affect Disease Uncovered
Scientists have shown that the passage of molecules through the nucleus of a star-shaped brain cell, called an astrocyte, may play a critical role in health and disease.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Scientists Uncover Nuclear Process in the Brain that May Affect Disease
NIH-funded study highlights the possible role of glial brain cells in neurological disorders.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
PINK1 Protein Crucial for Removing Broken-Down Energy Reactors
NIH study suggests potential new pathway to target for treating ALS and other diseases.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Tell-tale Biomarker Detects Early Breast Cancer in NIH-funded Study
The study published online in the issue of Nature Communications.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Researchers Identify Protein in Mice that Helps Prepare for Healthy Egg-sperm Union
Protein RGS2 plays a critical role in preserving the fertilizability of the ovulated egg.
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Protein Related to Long Term Traumatic Brain Injury Complications Discovered
NIH-study shows protein found at higher levels in military members who have suffered multiple TBIs.
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
Crystal Clear Images Uncover Secrets of Hormone Receptors
NIH researchers gain better understanding of how neuropeptide hormones trigger chemical reactions in cells.
Monday, August 03, 2015
Scientific News
NIH Supports New Studies to Find Alzheimer’s Biomarkers in Down Syndrome
Initiative will track dementia onset, progress in Down syndrome volunteers.
Dementia Linked to Deficient DNA Repair
Mutant forms of breast cancer factor 1 (BRCA1) are associated with breast and ovarian cancers but according to new findings, in the brain the normal BRCA1 gene product may also be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
How Cells ‘Climb’ to Build Fruit Fly Tracheas
Mipp1 protein helps cells sprout “fingers” for gripping.
A Cellular Symphony Responsible for Autoimmune Disease
Broad Institute researchers have used a novel approach to increase our understanding of the immune system as a whole.
Non-Disease Proteins Kill Brain Cells
Scientists at the forefront of cutting-edge research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have shown that the mere presence of protein aggregates may be as important as their form and identity in inducing cell death in brain tissue.
Closing the Loop on an HIV Escape Mechanism
Research team finds that protein motions regulate virus infectivity.
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Gut Microbes Signal to the Brain When They're Full
Don't have room for dessert? The bacteria in your gut may be telling you something.
Turning up the Tap on Microbes Leads to Better Protein Patenting
Mining millions of proteins could become faster and easier with a new technique that may also transform the enzyme-catalyst industry, according to University of California, Davis, researchers.
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos