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Whole blood transcriptional profiles as a prognostic tool in complete and incomplete Kawasaki Disease



Early identification of children with Kawasaki Disease (KD) is key for timely initiation of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy. However, the diagnosis of the disease remains challenging, especially in children with an incomplete presentation (inKD). Moreover, we currently lack objective tools for identification of non-response (NR) to IVIG.


Children with KD were enrolled and samples obtained before IVIG treatment and sequentially at 24 h and 4-6 weeks post-IVIG in a subset of patients. We also enrolled children with other febrile illnesses [adenovirus (AdV); group A streptococcus (GAS)] and healthy controls (HC) for comparative analyses. Blood transcriptional profiles were analyzed to define: a) the cKD and inKD biosignature, b) compare the KD signature with other febrile illnesses and, c) identify biomarkers predictive of clinical outcomes.


We identified a cKD biosignature (n = 39; HC, n = 16) that was validated in two additional cohorts of children with cKD (n = 37; HC, n = 20) and inKD (n = 13; HC, n = 8) and was characterized by overexpression of inflammation, platelets, apoptosis and neutrophil genes, and underexpression of T and NK cell genes. Classifier genes discriminated KD from adenovirus with higher sensitivity and specificity (92% and 100%, respectively) than for GAS (75% and 87%, respectively). We identified a genomic score (MDTH) that was higher at baseline in IVIG-NR [median 12,290 vs. 5,572 in responders, p = 0.009] and independently predicted IVIG-NR.


A reproducible biosignature from KD patients was identified, and was similar in children with cKD and inKD. A genomic score allowed early identification of children at higher risk for non-response to IVIG.

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