Background: We have previously demonstrated that a peripheral blood transcriptional profile using 11 distinct genes predicts onset of cardiac allograft rejection weeks to months prior to the actual event. Methods: In this analysis, we ascertained the performance of this transcriptional algorithm in a Bayesian representative population: 28 cardiac transplant recipients who progressed to moderate to severe rejection; 53 who progressed to mild rejection; and 46 who remained rejection-free. Furthermore, we characterized longitudinal alterations in the transcriptional gene expression profile before, during and after recovery from rejection. Results: In this patient cohort, we found that a gene expression score (range 0 to 40) of ≤20 represents very low risk of rejection in the subsequent 12 weeks: 0 progressed to treatable (ISHLT Grade ≥3A) rejection; 16 of 53 (30%) from the intermediate group (those who progressed to ISHLT Grade 1B or 2) and 13 of 46 (28%) controls (who remained Grade 0 or 1A) had scores ≤20. A gene score of ≥30 was associated with progression to moderate to severe rejection in 58% of cases. These two extreme scores (≤20 or ≥30) represented 44% of the cardiac transplant population within 6 months post-transplant. In addition, longitudinal gene expression analysis demonstrated that baseline scores were significantly higher for those who went on to reject, remained high during an episode of rejection, and dropped post-treatment for rejection (p < 0.01). Conclusions: The use of gene expression profiling early after transplantation allows for separation into low-, intermediate- or high-risk categories for future rejection, permitting development of discrete surveillance strategies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine