WCMC investigators, collaborating with national and international scientists, have achieved a milestone in the field of kidney transplantation. For the first time, a human kidney allograft (and/or involving a kidney from a human) has been sequenced for the expression pattern of small RNAs. This original research by Dr. Manikkam Suthanthiran and colleagues has resulted in a landmark paper in Transplantation.
The original research entitled "MicroRNA Sequence Profiles of Human Kidney Allografts With or Without Tubulointerstitial Fibrosis" by I.Z. Ben-Dov, MD, T. Muthukumar, MD, (co-first authors), P. Morzov, PhD, F. Mueller, MD, T. Tuschl, PhD, M. Suthanthiran, MD was published in the December 15, 2012 issue of Transplantation as a Rapid Communication, an avenue reserved for highly meritorious research accomplishment.
Fibrosis of the transplanted kidney is an important cause of kidney allograft failure. However, the underlying pathological mechanisms are poorly understood and management options are limited. Certain proteins have been implicated in the fibrosis process and the genes encoding these proteins are regulated – at least in part, by small RNA molecules called microRNAs. Over 500 different microRNAs have now been identified and knowledge of those that contribute to fibrosis can lead to highly specific therapy.
In the December 2012 issue of Transplantation, using a novel barcoded (multiplexed) microRNA sequencing approach developed in the Tuschl laboratory, the investigators characterized the entire microRNA transcriptome of the human kidney allografts and discovered that allografts with fibrosis display a microRNA expression profile that is distinct from that seen in kidney allografts without fibrosis. The investigators then validated the novel findings using the pre-amplification enhanced kinetic quantitative PCR assay developed in the Suthanthiran laboratory.
This pioneer study is important to the field of transplantation as it demonstrates the feasibility and practicality of the highly informative technique used to sequence the microRNA transcriptome in kidney allografts, and provides data linking microRNA expression levels and kidney allograft outcome.