Long-term improvement in renal function after cyclosporine reduction in renal transplant recipients with histologically proven chronic cyclosporine nephropathy

Transplantation. 1998 Mar 15;65(5):661-7. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199803150-00010.


Background: Chronic cyclosporine (CsA) nephropathy, which has been unequivocally documented in recipients of heart, heart-lung, liver, or bone marrow transplants, as well as in nontransplant situations, usually results in a progressive deterioration of renal function. In this study, we assessed the potential reversibility of chronic CsA nephropathy in renal transplant recipients.

Patients and methods: Twenty-three renal transplant patients with biopsy-proven CsA nephropathy associated with long-term CsA administration (27+/-4 months) were followed up for more than 2 years after CsA reduction (18/23 patients) or withdrawal (5/23 patients) and addition of azathioprine. Changes in effective renal plasma flow and glomerular filtration rate were assessed before and 2 years after CsA reduction, whereas serum creatinine, proteinuria, blood pressure, and CsA concentrations were monitored up to 5 years.

Results: At 2-year follow-up, glomerular filtration rate increased from 40+/-3 to 47+/-4 (P<0.05) and effective renal plasma flow from 217+/-23 to 244+/-24 ml/min/1.73 m2 (NS). Mean arterial pressure significantly decreased from 98.7+/-2.9 to 93.1+/-2.7 mmHg (P<0.05). There was no significant change in renal vascular resistance, filtration fraction, or albumin excretion. A significant decrease in serum creatinine was also observed during the whole follow-up (73+/-6.5 months). CsA reduction was followed by only one episode of acute reversible rejection; chronic rejection developed in three patients 2 years or later after CsA reduction.

Conclusions: These data suggest that CsA nephropathy participates in graft dysfunction in a small group of renal transplant recipients. In addition, graft dysfunction may be reversible when CsA dosage is reduced early after diagnosis of chronic CsA nephropathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Blood Pressure
  • Chronic Disease
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage
  • Cyclosporine / adverse effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors


  • Cyclosporine
  • Creatinine