Presence of donor-derived DNA and cells in the urine of sex-mismatched hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients: implication for the transrenal hypothesis

Emily C W Hung, Tristan K F Shing, Stephen S C Chim, Philip C. Yeung, Rebecca W Y Chan, Ki W. Chik, Vincent Lee, Nancy B Y Tsui, Chi Kong Li, Sze Chuen Cesar Wong, Rossa W K Chiu, Y. M Dennis Lo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The term "transrenal DNA" was coined in 2000 to signify that DNA in urine may come from the passage of plasma DNA through the kidney barrier. Although DNA in the urine has the potential to provide a completely noninvasive source of nucleic acids for molecular diagnosis, its existence remains controversial. methods: We obtained blood and urine samples from 22 hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients and used fluorescence in situ hybridization, PCR for short tandem repeats, mass spectrometry, quantitative PCR, and immunofluorescence detection to study donor-derived DNA in the urine. results: All HSCT recipients exhibited high amounts of donor-derived DNA in buffy coat and plasma samples. Male donor-derived DNA was detected in supernatants of urine samples from all 5 female sexmismatched HSCT recipients. Surprisingly, the amount of DNA in urine supernatants was not correlated with the plasma value. Moreover, cell-free urine supernatants contained DNA fragments ≥350 bp that were absent in plasma. Donor-derived polymorphs were detected in urine by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Coincidentally, donor-derived cytokeratinproducing epithelial cells were discovered in urine samples from 3 of 10 sex-mismatched HSCT recipients as long as 14.2 years after transplantation. conclusions: This report is the first to demonstrate the presence of donor-derived DNA in the urine of HSCT recipients; however, we show that much of this DNA originates from donor-derived cells, rather than from the transrenal passage of cell-free plasma DNA. Our discovery of donor-derived cytokeratin-producing epithelial cells raises interesting biological and therapeutic implications, e.g., the capacity of marrow stem cells to serve as an extrarenal source for renal tubule regeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-722
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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