Baseline serum levels of mast cell tryptase are raised in hemodialysis patients and associated with severity of pruritus

Susanne Dugas-Breit, Pia Schöpf, Martin Dugas, Helmut Schiffl, Franziska Ruëff, Bernhard Przybilla
Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft: JDDG 2005, 3 (5): 343-7

BACKGROUND: The pathogenesis of pruritus in renal disease is not yet understood. Evidence suggests that mast cells play a role; for example, the number of dermal mast cells is increased in patients on hemodialysis.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: To investigate a possible role of mast cell tryptase in pruritus of patients undergoing chronic hemodialysis, serum mast cell tryptase concentrations were measured in blood samples taken from 93 such patients, 53 of whom also recorded the severity of their pruritus on a visual analogue scale.

RESULTS: Serum mast cell tryptase levels were above 11.4 microg/l (95th percentile) in 84 of 93 hemodialysis patients (90.3 %). The intensity of pruritus correlated significantly (p = 0.014) with the tryptase levels, an associated not yet shown for other mast cell-related parameters.

CONCLUSIONS: Mast cells or even tryptase itself may be involved in the pathogenesis of pruritus of hemodialysis patients.

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