Role of cytokine gene polymorphisms in acute rejection and renal impairment after liver transplantation

Liver Transpl. 2001 Mar;7(3):255-63. doi: 10.1053/jlts.2001.22450.


Although immunosuppressive regimens are effective, rejection occurs in up to 50% of patients after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT), and there is concern about side effects from long-term therapy. Knowledge of clinical and immunogenetic variables may allow tailoring of immunosuppressive therapy to patients according to their potential risks. We studied the association between transforming growth factor-beta, interleukin-10, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) gene polymorphisms and graft rejection and renal impairment in 121 white liver transplant recipients. Clinical variables were collected retrospectively, and creatinine clearance was estimated using the formula of Cockcroft and Gault. Biallelic polymorphisms were detected using polymerase chain reaction-based methods. Thirty-seven of 121 patients (30.6%) developed at least 1 episode of rejection. Multivariate analysis showed that Child-Pugh score (P =.001), immune-mediated liver disease (P =.018), normal pre-OLT creatinine clearance (P =.037), and fewer HLA class 1 mismatches (P =.038) were independently associated with rejection. Renal impairment occurred in 80% of patients and was moderate or severe in 39%. Clinical variables independently associated with renal impairment were female sex (P =.001), pre-OLT renal dysfunction (P =.0001), and a diagnosis of viral hepatitis (P =.0008). There was a significant difference in the frequency of TNF-alpha-308 alleles among the primary liver diseases. After adjustment for potential confounders and a Bonferroni correction, the association between the TNF-alpha-308 polymorphism and graft rejection approached significance (P =.06). Recipient cytokine genotypes do not have a major independent role in graft rejection or renal impairment after OLT. Additional studies of immunogenetic factors require analysis of large numbers of patients with appropriate phenotypic information to avoid population stratification, which may lead to inappropriate conclusions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cytokines / genetics*
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / genetics
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / genetics*
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics


  • Cytokines
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10