Soluble Tim-3 and Gal-9 are associated with renal allograft dysfunction in kidney transplant recipients: A cross-sectional study

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Background:T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (Tim-3) has been reported to participate in the regulation of immune response and the induction of allograft tolerance. However, the association between Tim-3 and renal allograft dysfunction is unclear. We studied the expression of cellular and soluble Tim-3 (sTim-3), soluble galectin-9 (sGal-9) and carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule-1 (sCEACAM-1) in kidney transplantation recipients (KTRs) to explore their roles in allograft dysfunction.Methods:96 KTRs (53 with stable graft and 43 with graft dysfunction) and 30 healthy controls (HC) were enrolled. Among the KTRs, 55 used Tacrolimus (TAC) and 41 used Sirolimus (SRL). In the dysfunction group, 29 recipients have undergone graft biopsy and 14 were classified as biopsy-proven rejection (BPR). Cellular Tim-3 was determined by flow cytometry. sTim-3 was determined by ELISA. sGal-9 and sCEACAM-1 were determined by Bio-Plex® suspension array system.Results:KTRs with renal dysfunction showed significantly higher levels of sTim-3 and sGal-9 but similar levels of cellular Tim-3 and sCEACAM-1 compared with stable recipients. Correlation analysis revealed that estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was negatively associated with sTim-3 and sGal-9. Both BPR and non-BPR groups showed comparable levels of Tim-3, Gal-9 and CEACAM-1. Moreover, SRL group showed significantly higher levels of sCEACAM-1 than TAC and HC groups.Conclusions:sTim-3 and sGal-9 were promising biomarkers for allograft dysfunction, but unable to differentiate allograft rejection from other causes of renal dysfunction in KTRs. Moreover, long-term administration of sirolimus would up-regulate sCEACAM-1 level, while exert similar regulatory effects on Tim-3 and Gal-9 compared to tacrolimus.HighlightssTim-3 and sGal-9 are promising biomarkers for chronic renal allograft dysfunction.Tim-3, sGal-9 and sCEACAM-1 cannot distinguish rejection from non-rejection patients.Sirolimus would up regulate sCEACAM-1.

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