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Am J Transplant. 2005 Jul;5(7):1764-71.

CD31+ naïve Th cells are stable during six months following kidney transplantation: implications for post-transplant thymic function.

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Department of Nephrology and Intensive Care, Campus Virchow, Charité-University Medicine Berlin, Germany.


Little is known about thymus function in transplant patients. Until recently, the phenotype of T cells that recently emigrated the thymus was unknown. Now it has been demonstrated that CD4(+) recent thymus emigrants coexpress CD31 and CD45RA. Here, we investigated whether uremia and immunosuppression influence CD31(+) CD45RA(+) Th cells before and after kidney transplantation, respectively. Forty-eight renal transplant patients were included receiving either standard triple/quadruple (n = 35) immunosuppression, OKT-3 induction (n = 7) or FTY-720 (n = 6), respectively. Peripheral CD31(+) CD45RA(+) Th cells were quantified flowcytometrically before and at week 1, 4, 12 and 24 post-transplantation. Thirty-nine healthy adults served as controls. CD31(+) CD45RA(+) Th cells correlated inversely with age in patients and controls and were comparable in patients before transplantation and age-matched controls. Importantly, CD31(+) CD45RA(+) Th cell frequencies remained stable during 6 months post-transplantation. In conclusion, CD31(+) CD45RA(+) Th cells are not significantly altered by uremia before and during 6 months of immunosuppressive therapy after kidney transplantation. Implications for thymus function are discussed.

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