The relationship between dermatological findings and serum interleukin 31 and serum uridine diphosphate glucose ceramide glucosyltransferase levels among patients with chronic kidney disease

Hippokratia. 2019 Apr-Jun;23(2):75-80.


Background: Cutaneous diseases are observed with increasing duration and severity of renal disease in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). This study aimed to elucidate dermatological manifestations at different stages of CKD and determine their relationship with interleukin 31 (IL-31), a T-cell cytokine that induces severe pruritus, and uridine diphosphate (UDP)-glucose ceramide glucosyltransferase (UGCG), an enzyme that metabolizes ceramide, which plays an important role in moisturizing epidermis.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study 145 patients with a mean age of 46 ± 17 years were categorized into hemodialysis (group 1), peritoneal dialysis (group 2), kidney transplant (group 3), CKD (group 4), and healthy control (group 5) groups. Serum IL-31 and UGCG levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and clinical dermatologists evaluated dermatological manifestations.

Results: In the overall cohort, pruritus was significantly and inversely correlated with glomerular filtration rate and serum hemoglobin and albumin levels (p <0.005). Additionally, pruritus was significantly more frequent in group 2 than in group 5; and significantly less frequent in group 3 than in groups 1, 2, and 4 (p =0.01). In group 4, the patients with longitudinal nail ridges had significantly higher serum IL-31 levels than those without longitudinal nail ridges in their nails (p =0.02). Furthermore, in group 2, the patients with pruritus had significantly lower UGCG levels than those without pruritus (p =0.045).

Conclusion: IL-31 might play a role in the development of longitudinal nail ridges, whereas UGCG might provide protection from pruritus and xerosis in patients with CKD. HIPPOKRATIA 2019, 23(2): 75-80.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; interleukin 31; nail and skin disorders; pruritus; uridine diphosphate glucose ceramide glucosyltransferase.