Plasma Procalcitonin Is an Independent Predictor of Graft Failure Late After Renal Transplantation

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Background.Chronic low-grade inflammation is involved in chronic transplant dysfunction after renal transplantation. Procalcitonin (PCT), known to reflect microbial inflammation, may also reflect ongoing noninfectious chronic low-grade inflammation in organ parenchyma, including transplanted kidneys. We aimed to compare predictive performance of plasma PCT for development of graft failure in renal transplant recipients (RTR) with that of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), an established marker of systemic chronic low-grade inflammation.Methods.We included 575 RTR with functioning grafts for more than or equal to 1 year at a median (interquartile range) time of 6.1 (2.9–11.7) years posttransplant. PCT was determined using an ultrasensitive immunoluminometric assay and hsCRP using high-sensitivity enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.Results.Median (interquartile range) plasma PCT and hsCRP concentrations were 0.023 (0.017–0.036) ng/mL and 2.1 (0.8–4.9) mg/L, respectively. After a median (interquartile range) of 5.2 (4.5–5.7) years of follow-up, incidence of graft failure was 0.5%, 2.6%, and 18.5% according to increasing PCT tertiles (P<0.001 by log-rank test). Area under the curve of receiver operating characteristic analysis of PCT for prediction of graft failure was significantly higher than that of hsCRP (0.84 vs. 0.56, P<0.001). After adjustment for potential confounders, PCT remained an independent predictor of graft failure (hazard ratio=2.3 [95% confidence interval 1.4–3.7] per doubling PCT, P=0.0004), whereas this was not the case for hsCRP.Conclusion.We identified plasma PCT as a strong and an independent predictor of graft failure in RTR. These data suggest that PCT in RTR reflects ongoing inflammation in parenchyma of transplanted kidneys. Further studies are required to investigate whether PCT could be of use as an early biomarker for chronic transplant dysfunction.

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