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Vol. 36, No. 4, 2012
Issue release date: October 2012
Am J Nephrol 2012;36:355–361

Influence of Erythropoietin on Arterial Stiffness and Endothelial Function in Renal Transplant Recipients

Bartels V. · Hillebrand U. · Kosch M. · Hausberg M. · Kisters K. · Di Marco G.S. · Reiermann S. · Pavenstaedt H. · Lang D.
aDepartment II of Internal Medicine, University of Cologne, Cologne, bDepartment of Internal Medicine D, University of Muenster, Muenster, cDepartment of Internal Medicine I, Community Hospital, Karlsruhe, dDepartment of Internal Medicine I, St. Anna Hospital Herne, Herne, and eDialysis Centre Nordhorn, Nordhorn, Germany

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Background/Aims: Recent retrospective studies suggest an association of therapy with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) and increased mortality in renal transplant recipients (RTR). Large artery structure and function are significantly impaired in RTR which contributes to their high cardiovascular morbidity and could be altered by erythropoietin. We aimed to examine the influence of ESA therapy on large artery stiffness and endothelial function in RTR. Methods: 63 RTR with chronic allograft dysfunction and renal anemia were randomized to a group receiving darbepoetin alfa (Dar) and a control group (Co). At baseline and after 8 months of treatment (cumulative Dar dose 11.1 µg/kg b.w.) brachial and common carotid artery distensibility coefficients, aortic pulse wave velocity, brachial artery flow-mediated and nitroglycerin-mediated vasodilation were measured as well as the following biomarkers of vascular function: vWF, sVCAM, sICAM, E-selectin, t-PA and PAI-1. Results: 23 patients in the Dar group and 17 patients in the Co group were available for per-protocol analysis. Hemoglobin increased significantly from 10.9 to 12.6 g/dl after 8 months in the Dar group, whereas it remained stable at 11.3 g/dl in the Co group. Effects on large artery stiffness, endothelial function and biomarkers of vascular function did not differ significantly between the two groups. Conclusion: Therapy with Dar during 8 months did not significantly impact parameters of large artery stiffness and endothelial function in RTR. These data suggest that therapy with erythropoietin does not deteriorate arterial stiffness and endothelial function in RTR.

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