Background: Endothelial dysfunction is an early key event in the development of arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), thus an early marker of subclinical ASCVD. Endothelial function is impaired in renal transplant recipients (RTR) treated with cyclosporine (CyA). Tacrolimus is associated with less hyperlipidemia and hypertension than CyA, however, there are no data on endothelial function in tacrolimus-treated RTR.
Methods: High-resolution brachial ultrasonography was used to assess endothelium-dependent dilatation (EDD), and endothelium-independent dilatation (EID) in 20 stable RTR and a control group of 10 healthy subjects without clinical evidence of ASCVD. The RTR group included patients receiving CyA (n=10) and tacrolimus (n=10). EDD and EID were measured as percent increase in brachial artery diameter in response to reactive hyperemia and nitroglycerin, respectively.
Results and conclusions: EDD was significantly lower in RTR versus controls (1.7+/-0.7 vs. 7.3+/-0.7%, P<0.0001), whereas EID was similar in the two groups. No significant differences were found in EDD or in EID between CyA- and tacrolimus-treated RTR. Glomerular filtration rate, plasma homocysteine, blood pressure, and lipid profiles were similar in CyA- and tacrolimus-treated RTR.