Background: Circulating levels of cytokines and other inflammation markers are markedly elevated in patients with chronic renal failure. This could be caused by increased generation, decreased removal, or both. However, it is not well established to what extent renal function per se contributes to the uremic proinflammatory milieu. The aim of the present study is to analyze the relationship between inflammation and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in 176 patients (age, 52 +/- 1 years; GFR, 6.5 +/- 0.1 mL/min) close to the initiation of renal replacement therapy.
Methods: Circulating levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-6 (IL-6), hyaluronan, and neopterin were measured after an overnight fast. Patients subsequently were subdivided into two groups according to median GFR (6.5 mL/min).
Results: Despite the narrow range of GFR (1.8 to 16.5 mL/min), hsCRP, hyaluronan, and neopterin levels were significantly greater in the subgroup with lower GFRs, and significant negative correlations were noted between GFR and IL-6 (rho = -0.18; P < 0.05), hyaluronan (rho = -0.25; P < 0.001), and neopterin (rho = -0.32; P < 0.0005). In multivariate analysis, although age and GFR were associated with inflammation, cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus were not.
Conclusion: These results show that a low GFR per se is associated with an inflammatory state, suggesting impaired renal elimination of proinflammatory cytokines, increased generation of cytokines in uremia, or an adverse effect of inflammation on renal function.