Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) continues to be a major cause of early death after lung transplantation. Moreover, there remains a lack of accurate pretransplant molecular markers for predicting PGD. To identify distinctive donor lung gene expression signatures associated with PGD, we profiled human donor lungs using microarray technology prior to implantation. The genomic profiles of 10 donor lung samples from patients who subsequently developed clinically defined severe PGD were compared with 16 case-matched donor lung samples from those who had a favorable outcome without PGD (development set, n = 26). Selected PCR validated predictive genes were tested by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in an independent test set (n = 81). Our microarray analyses of the development set identified four significantly upregulated genes (ATP11B, FGFR2, EGLN1 and MCPH1) in the PGD samples. These genes were also significantly upregulated in donor samples of the test set of patients with poor outcomes when compared to those of patients with good outcomes after lung transplantation. This type of biological donor lung assessment shows significant promise for development of a more accurate diagnostic strategy to assess donor lungs prior to implantation.
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