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Transplantation. 2006 Feb 27;81(4):599-606.

Endothelial progenitor cells in kidney transplant recipients.

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Division of Angiology, Department of Medicine II, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.



Lower concentrations of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) may be associated with increased cardiovascular risk. EPC counts and their correlates have not yet been studied in kidney transplant recipients (KTR).


We cross-sectionally studied EPC counts in 105 middle-aged KTR (mean estimated glomerular filtration rate 45.2 ml/min/1.73 m; range: 5.4 to 117.5). Using univariate and multivariate linear regression assuming a gamma distribution of the outcome, we examined the associations between counts of cultured EPCs and traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, smoking), kidney function, and immunosuppressive agents, amongst others.


The median count of cultured EPCs was 34 cells per high-power field (interquartile range: 19 to 64), comparable to healthy individuals. From multivariate analyses, we found independent inverse associations between counts of cultured EPCs and body mass index, mean arterial pressure, and history of cardiovascular disease. Statin use was associated with greater EPC counts, whereas patients receiving azathioprine or angiotensin II receptor treatment had lower EPC counts (all P<0.01).


This study suggests negative associations in KTR between EPC counts and body mass index, and blood pressure, whereas statin use was associated with greater EPC counts. These findings raise the hypothesis whether EPCs are responsible, at least in part, for the well established associations between these factors and cardiovascular outcomes in KTR.

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