Background Survivors of critical illness complicated by acute kidney injury requiring renal replacement therapy (RRT) are at an increased risk of dialysis dependence and death but the mechanisms are unknown. Methods In a multicenter, prospective, cohort study of 817 critically ill patients receiving RRT, we examined association between Day 1 plasma inflammatory [interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and IL-18; macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) and tumor necrosis factor]; apoptosis [tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-I and TNFR-II and death receptor (DR)-5]; and growth factor (granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor) biomarkers and renal recovery and mortality at Day 60. Renal recovery was defined as alive and RRT independent. Results Of 817 participants, 36.5% were RRT independent and 50.8% died. After adjusting for differences in demographics, comorbid conditions; premorbid creatinine; nephrotoxins; sepsis; oliguria; mechanical ventilation; RRT dosing; and severity of illness, increased concentrations of plasma IL-8 and IL-18 and TNFR-I were independently associated with slower renal recovery [adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) range for all markers, 0.70-0.87]. Higher concentrations of IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and IL-18; MIF; TNFR-I and DR-5 were associated with mortality (AHR range, 1.16-1.47). In an analysis of multiple markers simultaneously, increased IL-8 [AHR, 0.80, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.70-0.91, P < 0.001] and TNFR-I (AHR, 0.63, 95% CI 0.50-0.79, P < 0.001) were associated with slower recovery, and increased IL-8 (AHR, 1.26, 95% CI 1.14-1.39, P < 0.001); MIF (AHR, 1.18, 95% CI 1.08-1.28, P < 0.001) and TNFR-I (AHR, 1.26, 95% CI 1.02-1.56, P < 0.03) were associated with mortality. Conclusions Elevated plasma concentrations of inflammatory and apoptosis biomarkers are associated with RRT dependence and death. Our data suggest that future interventions should investigate broad-spectrum immune-modulation to improve outcomes.
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