The Effect of Dialysis Modality and Membrane Performance on Native Immunity in Dialysis Patients

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Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is characterized by immune activation with development of chronic inflammation. However, immune deficiency also exists in CKD patients. The number and the activity of Natural Killer cells (NK-cells) are influenced by the biocompatibility of various dialysis membranes. In this study we investigated the effect of dialysis modality and membrane type on NK-cell number and on phagocytic activity of neutrophils in patients on different dialysis methods.

Sixty patients were included in the study and divided in three groups of 20 patients each. Patients on conventional hemodialysis using Low Flux membrane (cHD-LF) were included in Group I, patients on conventional dialysis using High Flux membrane (cHD-HF) were included in Group II and patients treated by on-line hemodiafiltration with High Flux polysulphone membrane (on-line HDF) were included in Group III. Native immunity was investigated using the number of NK-cells and the phagocytic activity of neutrophils.

NK-cells count was significantly lower (p<0.001) in the three groups of dialyzed patients in comparison to healthy subjects. However, no significant difference was observed in the NK-cells count among patients treated by conventional dialysis using Low or High Flux membrane and patients treated by on-line hemodiafiltration. Similarly, although the phagocytic activity of neutrophils was significantly decreased in all patients on dialysis (p<0.001), no difference related to the dialysis modality or membrane performance was observed. A strong positive correlation was recognized between parathormone blood levels and number of NK-cells (r=0.305, p<0.01).

In conclusion, an impairment of the native immunity represented by NK cell number and phagocytic activity of neutrophils is observed in patients on dialysis. Dialysis modality and membrane performance do not influence the native immunity of dialyzed patients. However, parathormone blood levels are possibly involved in the development of immune system disturbances in such patients.

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