BACKGROUND/AIMS: Monocyte activation and subsequent cytokine generation is presumed to be involved in haemodialysis (HD)-related morbidity. The present study was designed to investigate HD-induced changes in monocytes, with respect to their phenotypic profile and cytokine release, both in peripheral blood (PB) and dialyser eluates (DE). In addition, the effect of the type of dialyser on monocyte activation was assessed.
METHODS: Dialyser elution was performed in 8 patients after 3 h of HD, using cuprammonium (CU) and polysulfon (PS) dialysers in a randomised cross-over design. PB samples and DE were analysed for both the expression of a variety of monocyte cell surface markers (CD62L, CD11b, CD25, HLA-DR, CD64 and CD14) by flow cytometry and IL-1beta levels. Monocytes were identified by dual labelling with antibodies against CD14.
RESULTS: In PB, the expression of CD11b increased during HD with both devices, but was more pronounced with CU (CU versus PS: p < 0.05). CD62L decreased during HD, but only significantly for PS (p < 0.02). HLA-DR was downregulated during HD with CU (p = 0.056). The expression of CD64 was higher during HD with CU (p = 0.02). Finally, CD14 increased during HD with both dialysers (p < 0.03). DE yielded a mean cell count of 51 x 10(6) cells. The proportion of monocytes in DE was 3% for CU and 4% for PS. In eluted monocytes, a significant upregulation of CD11b, CD25, and HLA-DR was observed. CD62L was downregulated when compared to PB at t(180) (p < 0.001). In DE, no correlation was found between the type of dialyser and the phenotypic changes. In 10 of 16 DE supernatants, 6 CU and 4 PS, IL-1beta release could be demonstrated, CU yielding significantly more of this cytokine than PS (p = 0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: According to both their phenotypic profile and cytokine release, monocytes sticking to the dialyser membrane after HD are considerably more activated than circulating monocytes. Activation of eluted monocytes appeared independent of the type of dialyser, suggesting an effect of mechanical stress rather than bioincompatibility. In contrast, phenotypic activation of peripheral blood monocytes and cytokine release in the DE supernatant were mainly dialyser-dependent.