Background: In patients on chronic hemodialysis leukocyte activation has been related to the impaired function of the immune system. In this study we investigated if the vitamin E-coated dialyzer membrane could reduce monocyte activation thereby improving cellular immunity. Methods: This hypothesis was tested in a prospective crossover trial in which 14 stable hemodialysis patients were switched from the baseline hemophane dialyzer to a vitamin E-coated and thereafter a polysulphone dialyzer membrane or vice versa. Results: Monocyte MHC class I, CD54 and ICAM-1 expression was significantly downregulated when a vitamin E-coated or polysulphone dialyzer was used. The use of a vitamin E membrane specifically decreased monocyte CD40 and CD86 expression. Lectin induced T cell proliferation increased with the use of the vitamin E-coated membrane as compared to polysulphone and hemophane dialyzers. Conclusion: Vitamin E-coated dialyzers induced a less-activated phenotype of monocytes and may improve cellular immunity.

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