Assessment by flow cytometry of intracellular cytokine production in the peripheral blood cells of renal transplant recipients

Colm C. Magee, Mark D. Denton, Karl L. Womer, Samia J. Khoury, Mohamed H. Sayegh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Introduction: There is accumulating evidence that non-invasive immune monitoring may be useful in the early period after renal transplant, particularly with regard to predicting the presence of acute rejection. It is less clear whether chronic allograft nephropathy (CAN) is also associated with consistent changes in peripheral blood or urine cells. We hypothesized that patients with CAN would manifest different patterns of cytokine production (compared with non-CAN controls), detectable in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Methods: Flow cytometry was used to quantify production within PBMCs of multiple cytokines. Results: A pilot study showed significant differences in cytokine production between healthy controls and transplanted subjects. However, differences between transplanted patients with and without CAN were small and non-significant. Discussion: Flow cytometry is a potentially useful method for quantifying cytokine production by PBMCs of renal transplant recipients. The technique is sensitive enough to detect differences between distinct test groups but could not find differences between recipients with and without CAN. This probably reflects the lack of a true difference because pathological changes within the long-term allograft may simply not be reflected or detected in the total population of PBMCs. Further studies should explore the usefulness of this technique in assaying more defined populations of PBMCs (such as those activated by donor allopeptides) and in serial monitoring of individual patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-401
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic rejection
  • Cytokine
  • Flow cytometry
  • Renal
  • Transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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