Heart transplantation remains the definitive treatment for end stage heart failure. Because availability is limited, risk stratification of candidates is crucial for optimizing both organ allocations and transplant outcomes. Here we utilize proteomics prior to transplant to identify new biomarkers that predict post-transplant survival in a multi-institutional cohort. Microvesicles were isolated from serum samples and underwent proteomic analysis using mass spectrometry. Monte Carlo cross-validation (MCCV) was used to predict survival after transplant incorporating select recipient pre-transplant clinical characteristics and serum microvesicle proteomic data. We identified six protein markers with prediction performance above AUROC of 0.6, including Prothrombin (F2), anti-plasmin (SERPINF2), Factor IX, carboxypeptidase 2 (CPB2), HGF activator (HGFAC) and low molecular weight kininogen (LK). No clinical characteristics demonstrated an AUROC > 0.6. Putative biological functions and pathways were assessed using gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA). Differential expression analysis identified enriched pathways prior to transplant that were associated with post-transplant survival including activation of platelets and the coagulation pathway prior to transplant. Specifically, upregulation of coagulation cascade components of the kallikrein-kinin system (KKS) and downregulation of kininogen prior to transplant were associated with survival after transplant. Further prospective studies are warranted to determine if alterations in the KKS contributes to overall post-transplant survival.
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