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Identifying transplant recipients in whom immunological tolerance is established or is developing would allow an individually tailored approach to their posttransplantation management. In this study, we aimed to develop reliable and reproducible in vitro assays capable of detecting tolerance in renal transplant recipients. Several biomarkers and bioassays were screened on a training set that included 11 operationally tolerant renal transplant recipients, recipient groups following different immunosuppressive regimes, recipients undergoing chronic rejection, and healthy controls. Highly predictive assays were repeated on an independent test set that included 24 tolerant renal transplant recipients. Tolerant patients displayed an expansion of peripheral blood B and NK lymphocytes, fewer activated CD4+ T cells, a lack of donor-specific antibodies, donor-specific hyporesponsiveness of CD4+ T cells, and a high ratio of forkhead box P3 to alpha-1,2-mannosidase gene expression. Microarray analysis further revealed in tolerant recipients a bias toward differential expression of B cell-related genes and their associated molecular pathways. By combining these indices of tolerance as a cross-platform biomarker signature, we were able to identify tolerant recipients in both the training set and the test set. This study provides an immunological profile of the tolerant state that, with further validation, should inform and shape drug-weaning protocols in renal transplant recipients.

Original publication

DOI

10.1172/JCI39922

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Clin Invest

Publication Date

06/2010

Volume

120

Pages

1848 - 1861

Keywords

Biomarkers, Humans, Immune Tolerance, Immunosuppressive Agents, Kidney Transplantation, T-Lymphocytes, Tissue Donors