Breakthrough in organ rejection diagnosis examines gene behavior

Nov 19, 2007

A new article appearing in American Journal of Transplantation describes a revolutionary technique for more clearly identifying the possibility of organ rejection in kidney transplants. The technique, which uses a microarray or “Gene Chip,” a process of examining DNA sequences, defines how major causes of organ disease leading to rejection share similar disturbances in gene behavior.

The study is the first to show how gene sets, as opposed to single genes, can be used for diagnosis of rejection in individual patients, and offers new insight into the mechanisms of these gene changes.

“The key problem in transplantation is to diagnose rejection. This has traditionally been done with the microscope by reading the appearance of the tissue. We are showing how this can be performed by reading the changes in expression of genes, and in particular, expression of sets of genes,” says Philip F. Halloran, M.D., lead author of the study and Editor-in-Chief of American Journal of Transplantation. “This is a more objective and accurate method of identifying the possibility of organ rejection.”

The authors established sets of genes – transcripts sets – based on disease pathogenesis. They found a threshold for expression below which the studied biopsies did not show evidence of rejection. The findings displayed a series of major biologic indicators that occur before and during organ rejection. The results showed that previous histologic criteria, particularly relating to the cut-off between borderline organ acceptance and rejection, are unreliable.

The gene behaviors identified showed strong correlations, indicating that disturbances leading to transplant rejection have stereotyped structures. Samples from the study that lacked these disturbances did not lead to organ rejection.

The features of this structure are also found in lower levels in many forms of organ disease and injury. “The system of reading biopsies that was developed in the study can be used with to help understand a variety of disease processes,” says Halloran.

Source: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Explore further: Could ibuprofen be an anti-aging medicine? Popular over-the counter drug extends lifespan in yeast, worms and flies

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How female fruit flies know when to say 'yes'

Oct 07, 2014

A fundamental question in neurobiology is how animals, including humans, make decisions. A new study publishing in the open access journal PLOS Biology on October 7 reveals how fruit fly females make a very ...

Protecting privacy also means preserving democracy

Sep 01, 2014

What impact does the proliferation of new mobile technologies have? How does the sharing of personal data over the Internet threaten our society? Interview with Professor Jean-Pierre Hubaux, a specialist ...

Fecal transplants let packrats eat poison

Jul 21, 2014

Woodrats lost their ability to eat toxic creosote bushes after antibiotics killed their gut microbes. Woodrats that never ate the plants were able to do so after receiving fecal transplants with microbes ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.