Endothelin (ET) A receptor antagonists have been shown to be beneficial in rat models of chronic kidney allograft dysfunction. We investigated urinary and plasma ET-1 (uET-1, pET-1) and BigET-1 (uBigET-1, pBigET-1) concentrations, and plasma soluble ET-converting enzyme (ECE) concentration in 310 adult Caucasian kidney allograft recipients with graft survival of more than 2 years from the outpatients department of our clinic. All patients were on cyclosporine A- or FK506-based immunosuppression protocols. From all available measurements since transplantation, we calculated the slope of serum creatinine-1/year (slopeCrea) as a parameter for progression of chronic graft dysfunction, as well as the mean of serum creatinine (meanCrea) from most recent year before measurements as a parameter for actual graft function. The slope of urinary protein excretion/year (slopeProt) and mean of urinary protein concentration (meanProt) from most recent year was calculated analogue. uET-1 and uBigET-1 were adjusted for protein excretion by calculating uET-1/meanProt and uBigET-1/meanProt. Blood and urine probes for measurements were always drawn immediately before morning dosage of immunosuppressants. There was no significant correlation of any measured component of the ET system with slopeCrea or slopeProt. MeanCrea (mg/dl) was significantly correlated with pBigET-1 (fmol/ml) and pET-1 (fmol/ml) (pBigET-1: r = 0.179, P = 0.001; pET-1: r = 0.161, P = 0.009). The other measured components of the ET systems were not significant correlated with meanCrea. In conclusion, the actual graft function is associated with elevated pET-1 and BigET-1 concentrations as it is well known from other forms of impaired kidney function. However, the actual concentration of ET-1, soluble ECE, and BigET-1 in urine and plasma in our study is not associated with parameters for progression of chronic graft dysfunction.

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