Correlation of increased Th17/Treg cell ratio with endoplasmic reticulum stress in chronic kidney disease

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To investigate the relationship between the regulatory immune network and endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) in patients with different stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD).A total of 91 patients diagnosed with CKD were divided into different groups according to the stage of disease and treatment with hemodialysis (HD) or peritoneal dialysis (PD). Routine blood and biochemical tests were performed in patients in the different CKD groups and in healthy controls (n = 20). The frequencies of T helper type 17 (Th17) and regulatory T (Treg) cells in the overall T cell population were measured by flow cytometric analysis. Levels of Th17 cell (IL-17) and Treg cell (IL-10) cytokines and the ERS markers CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) and glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in serum samples collected from controls and patients. Correlations between each parameter and serum creatinine were analyzed by Spearman rank correlation and regression test.CKD stage showed a positive correlation with serum creatinine level, and increased and decreased percentages of Th17 and Treg cells, respectively, reflected in an increased Th17/Treg cell ratio. Consistent with this, CKD stage was positively correlated with serum concentrations of IL-17 and negatively correlated with serum IL-10 levels. Moreover, serum levels of CHOP and GRP78 increased with advancing CKD stage. These correlations were most pronounced in patients in the CKD5 group, who also had the poorest response to HD and PD treatment, compared with CKD5 patients in the nondialysis group. Correlation analysis showed that serum levels of CHOP and GRP78 were independently and positively correlated with the ratio of Th17/Treg cells.We have found that an increased Th17/Treg cell ratio and increased serum levels of ERS markers correlate with the progression of CKD. Our results indicate that the interplay between regulation of the immune network and management of ERS is closely associated with the pathogenesis of CKD. Although HD and PD treatment manage chronic kidney conditions and prevent further deterioration of renal function, they have limited effects on improving the immune disorder and relieving ERS. Our study suggests a potential new direction for development of therapeutic strategies in CKD.

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