Open Access Open Badges Research

Vitamin A metabolism is changed in donors after living-kidney transplantation: an observational study

Andrea Henze1*, Jens Raila1, Caroline Kempf2, Petra Reinke3, Anett Sefrin3, Uwe Querfeld2 and Florian J Schweigert1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Nutritional Science, Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Potsdam, Nuthetal, Germany

2 Department of Pediatric Nephrology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany

3 Medical Department, Division of Nephrology and Intensive Care Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

Lipids in Health and Disease 2011, 10:231  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-10-231

Published: 7 December 2011



The kidneys are essential for the metabolism of vitamin A (retinol) and its transport proteins retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) and transthyretin. Little is known about changes in serum concentration after living donor kidney transplantation (LDKT) as a consequence of unilateral nephrectomy; although an association of these parameters with the risk of cardiovascular diseases and insulin resistance has been suggested. Therefore we analyzed the concentration of retinol, RBP4, apoRBP4 and transthyretin in serum of 20 living-kidney donors and respective recipients at baseline as well as 6 weeks and 6 months after LDKT.


As a consequence of LDKT, the kidney function of recipients was improved while the kidney function of donors was moderately reduced within 6 weeks after LDKT. With regard to vitamin A metabolism, the recipients revealed higher levels of retinol, RBP4, transthyretin and apoRBP4 before LDKT in comparison to donors. After LDKT, the levels of all four parameters decreased in serum of the recipients, while retinol, RBP4 as well as apoRBP4 serum levels of donors increased and remained increased during the follow-up period of 6 months.


LDKT is generally regarded as beneficial for allograft recipients and not particularly detrimental for the donors. However, it could be demonstrated in this study that a moderate reduction of kidney function by unilateral nephrectomy, resulted in an imbalance of components of vitamin A metabolism with a significant increase of retinol and RBP4 and apoRBP4 concentration in serum of donors.

Donors; glomerular filtration rate; kidney transplantation; retinol; retinol-binding protein 4; transthyretin