Background/aims: Higher levels of soluble cellular adhesion molecules have been found to be a strong indicator of endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis in the general population. In hemodialysis patients, soluble cellular adhesion molecules have been found at higher levels as well. Such an increase has been considered as a sign of chronic inflammation. Chronic viral hepatitis C (HCV) infection, highly prevalent in hemodialysis patients, is also a disease that can induce chronic inflammation. We conducted a cross-sectional association study of soluble cellular adhesion molecules and hepatitis C in maintenance hemodialysis patients.
Methods: A total of 87 stable hemodialysis patients were included in this study, mean age was 60.0 +/- 13.7 years. Anti-HCV antibody and HCV RNA assay were done. Patients were divided into anti-HCV-positive and anti-HCV-negative groups. Predialytic serum soluble intercellular adhesion molecules-1 (sICAM-1), soluble vascular cellular adhesion molecules-1 (sVCAM-1), and soluble E-selectin were assayed by commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. The results were correlated with other hematological and biochemical results.
Results: In the anti-HCV-positive group, the time on hemodialysis was longer (105.5 +/- 65.7 vs. 49.2 +/- 44.0 months, p = 0.001). The sICAM-1, sVCAM-1 and E-selectin levels were higher in the anti-HCV-positive group. HCV infection was determined as an independent determinant of sICAM-1 and sVCAM-1 by multiple linear regression analysis.
Conclusion: Elevated serum soluble cellular adhesion molecules are multifactorial in hemodialysis patients. The role of HCV infection must be considered. The clinical significance and implications of soluble cellular adhesion molecules remains to be elucidated.