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      Association between Neopterin and Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Hemodialysis Patients

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          Background: Atherosclerotic lesions are heavily infiltrated by macrophages. Neopterin can be used as a marker of the activity of macrophages. Serum neopterin levels were elevated in non-renal patients with atherosclerosis. The intima-media thickness (IMT) of the carotid arteries in hemodialysis patients was significantly higher than in control subjects. In this study, we measured serum neopterin levels in hemodialysis patients and evaluated a possible correlation between neopterin levels and carotid IMT. Patients and Methods: Thirty-seven hemodialysis patients (26 male/11 female, mean age 47 ± 15 years) and 12 healthy subjects (8 male/4 female, mean age 43 ± 10 years) were included in this study. Serum neopterin levels were measured by using a commercial ELISA kit. Carotid IMT of the subjects were measured by high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography. Results: Carotid IMT values were 1.04 ± 0.29 and 0.77 ± 0.25 mm in hemodialysis patients and healthy controls, respectively (p < 0.01). Serum neopterin levels were 110.9 ± 19.1 and 3.8 ± 2.3 ng/ml in hemodialysis patients and healthy controls, respectively (p < 0.01). Serum neopterin levels were 103.2 ± 21.3 ng/ml in hemodialysis patients with IMT <1 mm (n = 15), and 116.7 ± 15.4 ng/ml in hemodialysis patients with IMT ≧1 mm (n = 22) (p < 0.05). Moreover, there was a significant correlation between serum neopterin levels and carotid IMT (p < 0.05, r = 0.363). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that neopterin could be associated with the severity of carotid atherosclerosis in hemodialysis patients.

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          Strong association between malnutrition, inflammation, and atherosclerosis in chronic renal failure.

          Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and malnutrition are widely recognized as leading causes of the increased morbidity and mortality observed in uremic patients. C-reactive protein (CRP), an acute-phase protein, is a predictor of cardiovascular mortality in nonrenal patient populations. In chronic renal failure (CRF), the prevalence of an acute-phase response has been associated with an increased mortality. One hundred and nine predialysis patients (age 52 +/- 1 years) with terminal CRF (glomerular filtration rate 7 +/- 1 ml/min) were studied. By using noninvasive B-mode ultrasonography, the cross-sectional carotid intima-media area was calculated, and the presence or absence of carotid plaques was determined. Nutritional status was assessed by subjective global assessment (SGA), dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), serum albumin, serum creatinine, serum urea, and 24-hour urine urea excretion. The presence of an inflammatory reaction was assessed by CRP, fibrinogen (N = 46), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha; N = 87). Lipid parameters, including Lp(a) and apo(a)-isoforms, as well as markers of oxidative stress (autoantibodies against oxidized low-density lipoprotein and vitamin E), were also determined. Compared with healthy controls, CRF patients had an increased mean carotid intima-media area (18.3 +/- 0.6 vs. 13.2 +/- 0.7 mm2, P or = 10 mg/liter). Malnourished patients had higher CRP levels (23 +/- 3 vs. 13 +/- 2 mg/liter, P < 0.01), elevated calculated intima-media area (20.2 +/- 0.8 vs. 16.9 +/- 0.7 mm2, P < 0.01) and a higher prevalence of carotid plaques (90 vs. 60%, P < 0.0001) compared with well-nourished patients. During stepwise multivariate analysis adjusting for age and gender, vitamin E (P < 0.05) and CRP (P < 0.05) remained associated with an increased intima-media area. The presence of carotid plaques was significantly associated with age (P < 0.001), log oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL; P < 0.01), and small apo(a) isoform size (P < 0.05) in a multivariate logistic regression model. These results indicate that the rapidly developing atherosclerosis in advanced CRF appears to be caused by a synergism of different mechanisms, such as malnutrition, inflammation, oxidative stress, and genetic components. Apart from classic risk factors, low vitamin E levels and elevated CRP levels are associated with an increased intima-media area, whereas small molecular weight apo(a) isoforms and increased levels of oxLDL are associated with the presence of carotid plaques.
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            Fatty streak formation occurs in human fetal aortas and is greatly enhanced by maternal hypercholesterolemia. Intimal accumulation of low density lipoprotein and its oxidation precede monocyte recruitment into early atherosclerotic lesions.

            To determine whether oxidized LDL enhances atherogenesis by promoting monocyte recruitment into the vascular intima, we investigated whether LDL accumulation and oxidation precede intimal accumulation of monocytes in human fetal aortas (from spontaneous abortions and premature newborns who died within 12 h; fetal age 6.2+/-1.3 mo). For this purpose, a systematic assessment of fatty streak formation was carried out in fetal aortas from normocholesterolemic mothers (n = 22), hypercholesterolemic mothers (n = 33), and mothers who were hypercholesterolemic only during pregnancy (n = 27). Fetal plasma cholesterol levels showed a strong inverse correlation with fetal age (R = -0.88, P < 0.0001). In fetuses younger than 6 mo, fetal plasma cholesterol levels correlated with maternal ones (R = 0.86, P = 0.001), whereas in older fetuses no such correlation existed. Fetal aortas from hypercholesterolemic mothers and mothers with temporary hypercholesterolemia contained significantly more and larger lesions (758,651+/-87,449 and 451,255+/-37,448 micron2 per section, respectively; mean+/-SD) than aortas from normocholesterolemic mothers (61,862+/-9,555 micron2; P < 0.00005). Serial sections of the arch, thoracic, and abdominal aortas were immunostained for recognized markers of atherosclerosis: macrophages, apo B, and two different oxidation-specific epitopes (malondialdehyde- and 4-hydroxynonenal-lysine). Of the atherogenic sites that showed positive immunostaining for at least one of these markers, 58.6% were established lesions containing both macrophage/foam cells and oxidized LDL (OxLDL). 17.3% of all sites contained only native LDL, and 13.3% contained only OxLDL without monocyte/ macrophages. In contrast, only 4.3% of sites contained isolated monocytes in the absence of native or oxidized LDL. In addition, 6.3% of sites contained LDL and macrophages but few oxidation-specific epitopes. These results demonstrate that LDL oxidation and formation of fatty streaks occurs already during fetal development, and that both phenomena are greatly enhanced by maternal hypercholesterolemia. The fact that in very early lesions LDL and OxLDL are frequently found in the absence of monocyte/macrophages, whereas the opposite is rare, suggests that intimal LDL accumulation and oxidation contributes to monocyte recruitment in vivo.
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              Immune response-associated production of neopterin. Release from macrophages primarily under control of interferon-gamma

              Neopterin, a compound derived from GTP, represents a precursor molecule of biopterin that is an essential cofactor in neurotransmitter synthesis. We have recently reported that in vivo as well as in vitro immune responses are accompanied by an increased release of neopterin and that this phenomenon can be used for the biochemical monitoring of diseases accompanied by hyperimmune stimulation. This article deals with the cellular origin and the control of this immune response- associated neopterin release in vitro. Using highly purified or monoclonal cellular reagents we demonstrate that macrophages (M phi) stimulated with supernatants from activated T cells release large amounts of neopterin into culture supernatants. Further experiments involving induction of neopterin release from M phi with various human recombinant interferons (IFNs) or neutralization of the effect of T cell supernatants with various monoclonal anti-IFN antibodies revealed immune IFN as the active principle. It thus appears that a metabolic pathway so far exclusively known in context with the generation of an essential cofactor of neurotransmitter-synthesis during immune responses is also activated in M phi under stringent control by immune IFN-like lymphokines.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Clin Pract
                Nephron Clinical Practice
                S. Karger AG
                November 2005
                06 July 2005
                : 101
                : 3
                : c134-c138
                Departments of aNephrology, bInternal Medicine, cRadiology, and dBiochemistry, Gazi University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey
                86684 Nephron Clin Pract 2005;101:c134–c138
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, References: 23, Pages: 1
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