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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2007 Feb;22(2):491-9. Epub 2006 Oct 18.

Effects of a polyelectrolyte additive on the selective dialysis membrane permeability for low-molecular-weight proteins.

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University Hospital Würzburg, Division of Nephrology, Josef-Schneider-Strasse 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany.



Improving the sieving characteristics of dialysis membranes enhances the clearance of low-molecular-weight (LMW) proteins and may have an impact on outcome in patients receiving haemodialysis. To approach this goal, a novel polyelectrolyte additive process was applied to a polyethersulphone (PES) membrane.


Polyelectrolyte-modified PES was characterized in vitro by measuring complement activation and sieving coefficients of cytochrome c and serum albumin. In a prospective, randomized, cross-over study, instantaneous plasma water clearances and reduction rates of LMW proteins [beta(2)-microglobulin (b2m), cystatin c, myoglobin, retinol binding protein] were determined in eight patients receiving dialysis treatment with PES in comparison with polysulphone (PSU). Biocompatibility was assessed by determination of transient leucopenia, plasma levels of complement C5a, thrombin-antithrombin III (TAT), myeloperoxidase (MPO) and elastase (ELT).


PES showed a steeper sieving profile and lower complement activation in vitro compared with PSU. Instantaneous clearance (69 +/- 8 vs. 58 +/- 3 ml/min; P < 0.001) and reduction rate (72.3 +/- 1 5% vs 66.2 +/- 6.1%; P < 0.001) of b2m were significantly higher with PES as compared with PSU. With higher molecular weight of proteins, differences in the solute removal between PES and PSU further increased, whereas albumin loss remained low (PES, 0.53 +/- 0.17 vs PSU, <0.22 g/dialysis). MPO, ELT and TAT did not differ between the two membranes. In contrast, leucopenia was less pronounced and C5a generation was significantly lower during dialysis with PES.


Polyelectrolyte modification of PES results in a higher LMW protein removal and in optimized biocompatibility. Whether these findings translate into better outcome of patients receiving haemodialysis requires further studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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