Assessment of Organ Quality in Kidney Transplantation by Molecular Analysis and Why It May Not Have Been Achieved, Yet

Seraina von Moos, Enver Akalin, Valeria Mas, Thomas F. Mueller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Donor organ shortage, growing waiting lists and substantial organ discard rates are key problems in transplantation. The critical importance of organ quality in determining long-term function is becoming increasingly clear. However, organ quality is difficult to predict. The lack of good measures of organ quality is a serious challenge in terms of acceptance and allocation of an organ. The underlying review summarizes currently available methods used to assess donor organ quality such as histopathology, clinical scores and machine perfusion characteristics with special focus on molecular analyses of kidney quality. The majority of studies testing molecular markers of organ quality focused on identifying organs at risk for delayed graft function, yet without prediction of long-term graft outcome. Recently, interest has emerged in looking for molecular markers associated with biological age to predict organ quality. However, molecular gene sets have not entered the clinical routine or impacted discard rates so far. The current review critically discusses the potential reasons why clinically applicable molecular quality assessment using early kidney biopsies might not have been achieved yet. Besides a critical analysis of the inherent limitations of surrogate markers used for organ quality, i.e., delayed graft function, the intrinsic methodological limitations of studies assessing organ quality will be discussed. These comprise the multitude of unpredictable hits as well as lack of markers of nephron mass, functional reserve and regenerative capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number833
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - May 12 2020


  • implant biopsies
  • marginal organs
  • molecular diagnostics
  • organ quality
  • surrogate marker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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