Elevated levels of C-reactive protein independently predict accelerated deterioration of graft function in renal transplant recipients.
van Ree RM., Oterdoom LH., de Vries APJ., Gansevoort RT., van der Heide JJH., van Son WJ., Ploeg RJ., de Jong PE., Gans ROB., Bakker SJL.
BACKGROUND: Chronic transplant dysfunction is characterized by a gradual decline in renal function with slowly rising serum creatinine. The underlying mechanism is thought to include inflammation and atherosclerosis. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a well-established marker of both inflammation and atherosclerosis. In this prospective study, we investigated whether CRP could be of use as a clinical marker for early identification of renal transplant recipients at increased risk of deterioration of graft function. METHODS: In this prospective study, all participating patients (n = 606) visited the out-patient clinic at least once a year, and serum creatinine was assessed at every visit. Subjects with a follow-up of <1 year (n = 31) were excluded from analysis. RESULTS: A total of 575 patients participated at a median (interquartile range) time of 5.9 (2.6-11.3) years post-transplantation. Median time of follow-up was 3.0 (2.4-3.4) years. Changes in serum creatinine during follow-up were -0.45 (-4.83-4.76) micromol/l/year in 172 subjects with CRP <1.0 mg/l, 1.04 (-3.36-6.12) micromol/l/year in 184 subjects with CRP 1.0-3.0 mg/l and 2.34 (-3.33-9.07) micromol/l/year in 219 subjects with CRP >3.0 mg/l (P < 0.05 for comparison of the three groups). Proteinuria (P = 0.003), CMV IgG titre (P = 0.01), donor age (P = 0.01), CRP concentration (P = 0.02), recipient age (P = 0.02) and recipient gender (P = 0.047) were independently associated with change in serum creatinine during follow-up in a multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Elevated levels of CRP independently predict accelerated deterioration of graft function in renal transplant recipients >1 year post-transplantation. Further prospective studies are required to investigate whether early intervention can prevent deterioration of graft function in subjects with elevated levels of CRP.