Background: Chronic renal insufficiency is associated with the retention of solutes normally excreted by healthy kidneys. P-cresol, a prototype protein-bound uraemic retention solute, has been shown to exert toxic effects in vitro. Recently, however, it has been demonstrated that p-cresol in the human body is conjugated, with p-cresylsulphate as the main metabolite.
Methods: The present study evaluates the effect of p-cresylsulphate on the respiratory burst activity of leucocytes.
Results: P-cresylsulphate significantly increased the percentage of leucocytes displaying oxidative burst activity at baseline. Oxidative burst activity of stimulated leucocytes was however not affected. In contrast, p-cresol had no effect on the leucocytes at baseline, but inhibited leucocytes burst activity after stimulation.
Conclusion: The present study demonstrates, for the first time, that p-cresylsulphate, the main in vivo metabolite of p-cresol, has a pro-inflammatory effect on unstimulated leucocytes. This effect could contribute to the propensity to vascular disease in the uraemic population.