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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2002 Jan;13(1):260-4.

Vascular endothelial growth factor gene polymorphisms are associated with acute renal allograft rejection.

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Department of Nephrology, North Staffordshire Hospital, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom.


Acute rejection is a major cause of reduced survival of renal allografts. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a mitogen for endothelial cells and is expressed widely by renal tissue and T cells. VEGF influences adhesion and migration of leukocytes across the endothelium. This study investigates whether genetically determined variation in VEGF expression influences the development of renal allograft rejection. VEGF promoter polymorphisms were examined by using sequence-specific primer-PCR in 173 renal transplant recipients. Acute rejection occurred in 38.7%; median time to first rejection episode was 14 d. VEGF in vitro expression was investigated in stimulated leukocytes from 30 controls. The -1154*G and -2578*C alleles were associated with higher VEGF production. VEGF -1154 GG and GA genotypes were significantly associated with acute rejection risk at 3 mo (P = 0.004, odds ration [OR] = 6.8, 95% CI = 1.8 to 25 and P = 0.035, OR = 4.1, 95% CI = 1.1 to 15, respectively). Furthermore, VEGF -2578 CC and CA genotypes were associated with increased rejection risk (P = 0.005, OR = 4.1, 95% CI = 1.5 to 11.3 and P = 0.035, OR = 2.7, 95% CI = 1.1 to 7, respectively). These polymorphisms demonstrate linkage disequilibrium (P = 0.001). These data indicate that the -1154*G and -2578*C containing genotypes, encoding higher VEGF production, are strongly associated with acute rejection and may be useful markers of rejection risk.

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