INTRODUCTION: Biopsy of the allograft is the gold standard for assessing kidney allograft dysfunction. The aim of our pilot study was to identify serum biomarkers that could obviate the need for biopsy.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a study to identify the biomarkers in the serum from different groups of chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients and kidney transplanted patients vs. healthy individuals. The four groups (n=25 in each group) were as follows: 1) Patients with unstable kidney allograft transplants requiring biopsy for cause, 2) Patients with stable kidney allograft transplants, 3) Patients with CKD not on immunosuppressive therapy and, 4) healthy subjects. We measured the activity and level of serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and other liver enzymes (alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST)) as potential serum biomarkers in acute allograft dysfunction.
RESULTS: We found that ALP correlated with allograft biopsy findings, liver function, and clinical outcomes and possibly graft survival. Additionally, AST and ALT were higher in patients with graft rejection compared to non-rejected and stable kidney transplants. Moreover, the low Pearson correlations (r- values) between ALP level with age (r=0.179), gender, body mass index (r=0.236), creatinine (r=0.044) or estimated glomerular filtration rate (r=0.048) suggest that ALP may be an independent biomarker which is relatively unaffected by other individual-level variables.
CONCLUSION: ALP may be a putative biomarker to predict kidney allograft function and rejection. Data also indicated that liver function plays an important role for the overall success of kidney transplantation.