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Int Urol Nephrol. 2014 May;46(5):1019-24. doi: 10.1007/s11255-013-0596-7. Epub 2013 Nov 12.

What is the impact of immunosuppressive treatment on the post-transplant renal osteopathy?

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Department of Nephrology, Arterial Hypertension, Dialysis and Transplantation, University Hospital Centre Zagreb, Kispaticeva 12, 10000, Zagreb, Croatia.


Although glucocorticoid therapy is considered to be the main pathogenic factor, a consistent body of evidence suggests that other immunosuppressants might also play an important role in the development of the post-transplant renal osteopathy (PRO) through their pleiotropic pharmacological effects. Glucocorticoids seem to induce osteoclasts' activity suppressing the osteoblasts while data regarding other immunosuppressive drugs are still controversial. Mycophenolate mofetil and azathioprine appear to be neutral regarding the bone metabolism. However, the study analyzing any independent effect of antimetabolites on bone turnover has not been conducted yet. Calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) induce trabecular bone loss in rodent, with contradictory results in renal transplant recipients. Suppression of vitamin D receptor is probably the underlying mechanism of renal calcium wasting in renal transplant recipients receiving CNI. In spite of an increased 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D level, the kidney is not able to reserve calcium, suggesting a role of vitamin D resistance that may be related to bone loss. More efforts should be invested to determine the role of CNI in PRO. In particular, data regarding the role of mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors (mTORi), such as sirolimus and everolimus, in the PRO development are still controversial. Rapamycin markedly decreases bone longitudinal growth as well as callus formation in experimental models, but also lowers the rate of bone resorption markers and glomerular filtration in clinical studies. Everolimus potently inhibits primary mouse and human osteoclast activity as well as the osteoclast differentiation. It also prevents the ovariectomy-induced loss of cancellous bone by 60 %, an effect predominantly associated with a decreased osteoclast-mediated bone resorption, resulting in a partial preservation of the cancellous bone. At present, there is no clinical study analyzing the effect of everolimus on bone turnover in renal transplant recipients or comparing sirolimus versus everolimus impact on bone, so only general conclusions could be drawn. Hence, the use of mTORi might be useful in patients with PRO due to their possible potential to inhibit osteoclast activity which might lead to a decreased rate of bone resorption. In addition, it should be also emphasized that they might inhibit osteoblast activity which may lead to a decreased bone formation and adynamic bone disease. Further studies are urgently needed to solve these important clinical dilemmas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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