Emotional symptoms, quality of life and cytokine profile in hemodialysis patients

V. Montinaro, G. P. Iaffaldano, S. Granata, P. Porcelli, O. Todarello, F. P. Schena, G. Pertosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mental disorders are frequent in hemodialysis (HD) patients. Depression and anxiety along with physical co-morbidity affect quality of life (QOL). Uremia is associated with inflammation and release of cytokines by lymphomonocytes. Inflammatory cytokines are relevant in depression. The aim of this study was to assess the psychological alterations and QOL in HD patients, and to correlate them with pattern of cytokine production. Methods: Patients: 30 HD patients and 20 subjects with CKD Stage I-II K-DOQI. Psychometric tests were administered: 1) Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) composed of an anxiety subscale (HADS-A) and a depression subscale (HADS-D); 2) Kidney Disease Quality of Life (KDQOL) modified, including a cognitive function subscale (KDQOL-CF). Whole blood samples collected at beginning of HD session were diluted with RPMI/heparin and incubated for 24 h in presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-10 were assayed on supernatants and results were normalized per number of lymphomonocytes (ng/106 cells). Results: A depressive mood was more frequent in HD patients (50%) than controls (20%, p <0.0001). No difference for anxiety (HD = 43%, controls = 45%) was observed. QOL score was significantly lower in HD than controls (p = 0.006) and correlated inversely with HADS total, HADS-A and HADS-D (p <0.0001). Albumin, Kt/V and phosphate were comparable in patients with or without anxiety or depression. Cytokine production was significantly higher in HD patients than controls (IL-1βp= 0.05; IL-6 p = 0.010; TNF-α p <0.0001; IL-10, p = 0.0019). HD patients with the HADS-A positive for anxiety showed higher IL-6 production (p = 0.026), while IL-1β levels were not associated with symptoms of depression. KDQOL-CF correlated inversely with levels of IL-6, TNF-α and IL-10. Conclusions: HD patients have symptoms of depression and anxiety that negatively affect QOL. These symptoms are independent of the efficiency of dialysis and nutritional status. On the contrary, IL-6 is linked to the presence of psychological discomfort in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Nephrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Cognitive function
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin 6
  • Psychological alterations
  • Psychometric tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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