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Highly Accessed Review

Biomarkers in solid organ transplantation: establishing personalized transplantation medicine

Silke Roedder, Matthew Vitalone, Purvesh Khatri and Minnie M Sarwal*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics and Immunology, Stanford University, G306 300 Pasteur Drive, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA

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Genome Medicine 2011, 3:37  doi:10.1186/gm253

Published: 8 June 2011

Abstract

Technological advances in molecular and in silico research have enabled significant progress towards personalized transplantation medicine. It is now possible to conduct comprehensive biomarker development studies of transplant organ pathologies, correlating genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic information from donor and recipient with clinical and histological phenotypes. Translation of these advances to the clinical setting will allow assessment of an individual patient's risk of allograft damage or accommodation. Transplantation biomarkers are needed for active monitoring of immunosuppression, to reduce patient morbidity, and to improve long-term allograft function and life expectancy. Here, we highlight recent pre- and post-transplantation biomarkers of acute and chronic allograft damage or adaptation, focusing on peripheral blood-based methodologies for non-invasive application. We then critically discuss current findings with respect to their future application in routine clinical transplantation medicine. Complement-system-associated SNPs present potential biomarkers that may be used to indicate the baseline risk for allograft damage prior to transplantation. The detection of antibodies against novel, non-HLA, MICA antigens, and the expression of cytokine genes and proteins and cytotoxicity-related genes have been correlated with allograft damage and are potential post-transplantation biomarkers indicating allograft damage at the molecular level, although these do not have clinical relevance yet. Several multi-gene expression-based biomarker panels have been identified that accurately predicted graft accommodation in liver transplant recipients and may be developed into a predictive biomarker assay.