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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Long-Term Renal Function in Liver Transplant Recipients After Conversion From Calcineurin Inhibitors to mTOR Inhibitors

Anna Hüsing, Martina Schmidt, Susanne Beckebaum, Vito R. Cicinnati, Raphael Koch, Gerold Thölking, Jaqueline Stella, Hauke Heinzow, Hartmut H. Schmidt, Iyad Kabar

Department of Transplant Medicine, University Hospital Münster, Münster, Germany

Ann Transplant 2015; 20:707-713

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.895320

Available online:

Published: 2015-11-26

BACKGROUND: Renal dysfunction often occurs in liver transplant (LT) recipients receiving calcineurin inhibitor (CNI)-based immunosuppressive regimens, increasing morbidity and mortality rates. Replacement of CNIs by mTOR inhibitor-based immunosuppressive protocols may prevent renal impairment in LT recipients.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Outcomes in patients who underwent LT between 1996 and 2010 at our center and who were switched from CNI-based to mTOR inhibitor-based immunosuppression were retrospectively analyzed. Renal course, hyperlipidemia, and graft rejection were assessed in patients maintained on this CNI-free regimen for at least 24 months.
RESULTS: Of the 85 patients switched from CNI-based to mTOR inhibitor-based, CNI-free immunosuppression, 78 met the inclusion criteria. Within the first 6 weeks after switching, the covariable adjusted estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) increased 5.6 mL/min [95% confidence interval 2.6–8.7 mL/min, p<0.001], but there were no further statistically noticeable changes in eGFR. Concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides increased statistically, noticeable within the first 12 months after drug conversion. Histologically proven graft rejection was observed in 4 patients (5.1%) after conversion.
CONCLUSIONS: Conversion from CNI-based to CNI-free, mTOR inhibitor-based immunosuppression after LT is safe and can result in significant renal recovery. CNI-free, mTOR inhibitor-based immunosuppression is a potential option for patients with contraindications for CNIs and for LT recipients with rapid reduction in kidney function due to CNIs.

Keywords: Calcineurin, Immunosuppression, Liver Transplantation, renal insufficiency, TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases