Circulating Donor Lung-specific Exosome Profiles Enable Noninvasive Monitoring of Acute Rejection in a Rodent Orthotopic Lung Transplantation Model

Andreas Habertheuer, Chirag Ram, Maggie Schmierer, Shampa Chatterjee, Robert Hu, Andrew Freas, Patrick Zielinski, Wade Rogers, Eva M. Silvestro, Michael McGrane, Jonni S. Moore, Laxminarayana Korutla, Sarmad Siddiqui, Yi Xin, Rahim Rizi, Jian Qin Tao, Daniel Kreisel, Ali Naji, Takahiro Ochiya, Prashanth Vallabhajosyula

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background. There is a critical need for development of biomarkers to noninvasively monitor for lung transplant rejection. We investigated the potential of circulating donor lung-specific exosome profiles for time-sensitive diagnosis of acute rejection in a rat orthotopic lung transplant model. Methods. Left lungs from Wistar transgenic rats expressing human CD63-GFP, an exosome marker, were transplanted into fully MHC-mismatched Lewis recipients or syngeneic controls. Recipient blood was collected between 4 h and 10 d after transplantation, and plasma was processed for exosome isolation by size exclusion column chromatography and ultracentrifugation. Circulating donor exosomes were profiled using antihuman CD63 antibody quantum dot on the nanoparticle detector and via GFP trigger on the nanoparticle flow cytometer. Results. In syngeneic controls, steady-state levels of circulating donor exosomes were detected at all posttransplant time points. Allogeneic grafts lost perfusion by day 8, consistent with acute rejection. Levels of circulating donor exosomes peaked on day 1, decreased significantly by day 2, and then reached baseline levels by day 3. Notably, decrease in peripheral donor exosome levels occurred before grafts had histological evidence of acute rejection. Conclusions. Circulating donor lung-specific exosome profiles enable an early detection of acute rejection before histologic manifestation of injury to the pulmonary allograft. As acute rejection episodes are a major risk factor for the development of chronic lung allograft dysfunction, this biomarker may provide a novel noninvasive diagnostic platform that can translate into earlier therapeutic intervention for lung transplant patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-766
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


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