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Abstract: TH-PO649

Blood-Brain-Barrier Biomarkers in Patients Before and After Kidney Transplantation

Session Information

  • Transplantation: Basic
    November 03, 2022 | Location: Exhibit Hall, Orange County Convention Center‚ West Building
    Abstract Time: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Category: Transplantation

  • 2001 Transplantation: Basic


  • Hernandez, Leah Nakpil, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Ward, Liam J., Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Arefin, Samsul, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Barany, Peter F., Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Stenvinkel, Peter, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Kublickiene, Karolina, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden

Group or Team Name

  • Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), Division of Renal Medicine

The uremic milieu affects the blood-brain barrier by altering the levels of brain-specific biomarkers in the peripheral circulation, which may be due to increased BBB leakage. Renal replacement therapy such as kidney transplantation in ESKD patients may improve neurologic status and may be reflected by the altered levels of circulating BBB-specific biomarkers. The aim of this study is to compare the levels of the circulating BBB-specific biomarkers such as neuron-specific enolase (NSE), neurofilament light chain (NfL), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in living-donor kidney transplant patients and non-CKD controls.


Serum from non-CKD control (n=80) and plasma from living-donor renal transplant patients (LD-RTx, n=69) were used to measure NSE, NfL, and BDNF using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Circulating levels of the NSE, NfL, and BDNF in kidney transplant recipients were compared at baseline, and one and two years follow-up.


LD-RTx patients showed lower levels of NSE at 1 year, 2-year post-transplantation when compared to baseline and non-CKD controls (p< 0.05). BDNF and NfL levels were higher in LD-RTx patients at 1 year and 2-year follow-up compared to baseline and non-CKD controls (p< 0.05). Sex divided analysis showed significant difference in NfL levels only at 1 year follow up, with males having higher NfL levels compared to females.


Varying levels of BBB biomarkers suggest that kidney transplantation may have a beneficial effect on the BBB integrity. This is supported by the altered circulating levels of NSE, BDNF and NfL in the peripheral circulation. Further studies are ongoing to understand implications of sex differences and associations with clinical and biochemical parameters related to the maintenance of BBB and neurological status.


  • Government Support – Non-U.S.