Cellular immunity in hemodialysis patients: a quantitative analysis of immune cell subsets by flow cytometry

Am J Nephrol. 1995;15(1):57-65. doi: 10.1159/000168802.


Immune cell subsets, when measured by two-color flow cytometry in a population of 129 hemodialysis patients, showed significant variance from normal values. Lymphopenia, decreased absolute counts, and altered percentage values of immune cells were found. Increased proportions of CD3+, T cell receptor (TCR) alpha beta + cells and CD4+ T lymphocytes were present. An abnormally high percentage of a subset of activated TCR alpha beta + cells (alpha beta + DR+) was also seen in hemodialysis patients. The proportion of B lymphocytes was found to be significantly lower as compared with controls. Relative values for TCR gamma delta+cells, both for activated (gamma delta + DR+) and nonactivated (gamma delta + DR-) subsets, as well as for CD8+ lymphocytes and natural killer cells did not vary from those of normal controls. Also, the CD4+/CD8+ ratio showed no significant change. Analysis of absolute counts of the investigated immune cell populations revealed significantly decreased numbers for the majority of subsets, as a result of the preexisting lymphocytopenia, characteristic of end-stage renal disease. We conclude that profound quantitative alterations of immune cells, including TCR+T cells subsets, exist in hemodialysis patients. These account, at least in part, for the immune dysregulation associated with chronic renal failure.

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / etiology*
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / immunology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / immunology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology
  • Renal Dialysis* / adverse effects
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*


  • Receptor-CD3 Complex, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta