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Ren Fail. 2001 May-Jul;23(3-4):551-62.

C reactive protein in patients with chronic renal diseases.

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Department of Internal Medicine of Pisa, University of Pisa, Italy.


Base-line serum levels of plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) are predictive of future myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death in apparently healthy subjects, suggesting the hypothesis that chronic inflammation might be important in the pathogenesis of atherothrombosis. CRP production is mediated by several inflammatory mediators: interleukin 6 (IL-6) is currently felt to be the major cytokine influencing the acute phase response. CRP and other acute phase proteins are elevated in dialysis patients and cardiovascular diseases represent the single largest cause of mortality in chronic renal failure patients. Little information is available, however regarding CRP and IL-6 plasma levels in pre-dialysis renal failure. Plasma CRP was determined by a modification of the laser nephelometry technique; IL-6 by immunoassay (RD System); and fibrinogen, serum albumin, cholesterol, triglycerides, hematocrit, white blood cell count, erythrocytic sedimentation rate (ESR) and urinary protein levels by standard laboratory techniques. Results were obtained in 102 chronic pre-dialysis patients whose mean age was 53+/-5.8 years with a mean creatinine clearance (C(Cr)) of 52+/-37 mL/min). CRP was greater than 5 mg/L in 25% of the global population. CRP and IL-6 were 4.0+/-4.6 mg/L and 5.8+/-5.6 pg/mL, respectively and were not significantly correlated (r=0.11, p=n.s.). CRP and IL-6 were however related with renal function (CRP versus C(Cr) r=-0.40 p <0.001; IL- 6 versus C(Cr) r=-0.45; p <0.001). When patients were divided in two groups according to renal function, CRP resulted 7.4+/-6.3 mg/L in the group of patients with a C(Cr) lower than 20 mL/min (n=32) and 2.76+/-4.35 in the group of patients with a C(Cr) higher than 20 mL/min (n = 70) (p <0.0001). CRP and IL-6 were positively related with ESR (r=0.32 and 0.46 respectively). Serum albumin levels were not significantly different in the two groups of patients (3.2+/-0.4 versus 3.0+/-0.5 g/dL). CRP and serum albumin were not significantly related (r=0.17). CRP and IL-6 correlated positively with ESR (r=0.32 and 0.46 respectively). In pre-dialysis patients we have demonstrated an increase in both CRP and IL-6 that occurs as renal function decreases. These data provided evidence of the activation - even in the predialysis phase of renal failure - of mechanisms known to contribute to the enhanced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality of the uremic syndrome.

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