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Nephron Clin Pract. 2009;111(2):c117-26. doi: 10.1159/000191205. Epub 2009 Jan 16.

Increased plasma and endothelial cell expression of chemokines and adhesion molecules in chronic kidney disease.

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Center for Health and Biological Sciences, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil.


Chemokines and adhesion molecules are involved in early events of atherogenesis. In the present study, we investigated the effects of the uremic milieu on the expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin-8 (IL-8), soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) and their relationship to cardiovascular status. Plasma samples were obtained from patients in different stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Cardiovascular status was evaluated by intima-media thickness and endothelial dysfunction by flow mediation dilatation and proteinuria. In vitro studies were performed using human umbilical endothelial cells exposed to uremic plasma or plasma from healthy subjects. MCP-1, IL-8, sVCAM-1 and sICAM-1 levels in plasma and in supernatant were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The population consisted of 73 (mean age 57 years; 48% males) CKD patients with glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of 37 +/- 2 ml/min. MCP-1 and sVCAM-1 plasma levels were negatively correlated with GFR (rho = -0.40, p < 0.0005 and rho = -0.42, p < 0.0005, respectively). Fibrinogen was positively correlated with MCP-1, sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 (rho = 0.33, p < 0.005, rho = 0.32, p < 0.05 and rho = 0.25, p < 0.05, respectively) and ultra-high-sensitivity C-reactive protein was positively correlated with sICAM-1 (rho = 0.25, p < 0.0005). Plasma IL-8 had a significant positive correlation with proteinuria (rho = 0.31, p < 0.01). There was a time- and CKD-stage-dependent MCP-1, IL-8 and sVCAM-1 endothelial expression (p < 0.05). In summary, plasma levels of markers of endothelial cell activation (MCP-1 and sVCAM-1) are increased in more advanced CKD. Exposure of endothelial cells to uremic plasma results in a time- and CKD-stage-dependent increased expression of MCP-1, IL-8 and sVCAM-1, suggesting a link between vascular activation, systemic inflammation and uremic toxicity. Future studies are necessary to investigate whether these biomarkers add predictive value in comparison to the previously described ones. Also, endothelial response to uremic toxicity should be viewed as a potential target for intervention in order to reduce morbidity and mortality in CKD-related cardiovascular disease.

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