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To determine the extent of persisting hyperlipidemia in renal transplant recipients receiving modern maintenance immunosuppressive and antihypertensive therapy we compared plasma levels of total and high-density lipoprotein and triglyceride in 275 renal transplant recipients with stable graft function with age- and sex-matched groups from the local general population (n = 4055). Total cholesterol and triglyceride were higher in transplanted patients in all age groups, but the difference was much more striking in women. Plasma levels of HDL cholesterol were similar or slightly lower in transplanted patients. Association with parameters of graft function, immunosuppressive therapy, and antihypertensive therapy were studied within the transplanted population using multiple regression. Total cholesterol was significantly and independently associated with age, sex, diuretic therapy, and urinary protein. In 127/134 (95%) of patients the diuretic was a loop diuretic. None of the other classes of antihypertensive drug was independently associated with serum cholesterol. The only variables significantly associated with HDL cholesterol were sex and the plasma creatinine. Plasma triglyceride was significantly and independently associated with both diuretic therapy and beta-blocker therapy and with age, urinary protein excretion, and plasma albumin. Plasma cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels were almost identical in patients receiving triple therapy (cyclosporine 3-5 mg/kg; prednisolone 7-10 mg o.d.; azathioprine 1-1.5 mg/kg) to those in patients receiving conventional immunosuppression (prednisolone 7-10 mg o.d.; azathioprine 2-2.5 mg/kg). Thus these results do not support the existence of a persisting long-term effect of cyclosporine on plasma cholesterol and triglyceride at these doses of the drug. The more striking abnormality of plasma cholesterol and triglyceride in females is unexplained but might be connected with greater sensitivity to low doses of corticosteroids.


Journal article



Publication Date





987 - 992


Adult, Antihypertensive Agents, Cyclosporins, Diuretics, Female, Humans, Hyperlipidemias, Immunosuppressive Agents, Kidney Transplantation, Lipids, Male, Middle Aged, Postoperative Complications, Prednisone, Prevalence, Sex Factors