It is challenging to monitor the health of transplanted organs, particularly with respect to rejection by the host immune system. Because transplanted organs have genomes that are distinct from the recipient's genome, we used high throughput shotgun sequencing to develop a universal noninvasive approach to monitoring organ health. We analyzed cell-free DNA circulating in the blood of heart transplant recipients and observed significantly increased levels of cell-free DNA from the donor genome at times when an endomyocardial biopsy independently established the presence of acute cellular rejection in these heart transplant recipients. Our results demonstrate that cell-free DNA can be used to detect an organ-specific signature that correlates with rejection, and this measurement can be made on any combination of donor and recipient. This noninvasive test holds promise for replacing the endomyocardial biopsy in heart transplant recipients and may be applicable to other solid organ transplants.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1013924108
View details for Web of Science ID 000289413600060
View details for PubMedID 21444804