Increased Risk of Thrombotic Microangiopathy in Patients Receiving a Cyclosporin–Sirolimus Combination


*Corresponding author: Marie-Josée Hébert,


A single-center cohort study of kidney and kidney–pancreas recipients was conducted to evaluate the association between new immunosuppressive regimens and risk of thrombotic microangiopathy (TMA). From January 1st,1996 to December 31, 2002, 368 patients received a kidney or kidney–pancreas transplant at our center. Four immunosuppressive regimens were evaluated as potential risk factors of TMA: cyclosporin + mycophenolate mofetil (CsA + MMF), cyclosporin + sirolimus (CsA + SRL), tacrolimus + myophenolate mofetil (FK + MMF), and tacrolimus + sirolimus (FK + SRL). Thirteen patients developed biopsy-proven TMA in the absence of vascular rejection. The incidence of TMA was significantly different in the four immunosuppressive regimens studied (p < 0.001). The incidence of TMA was highest in the CsA + SRL group (20.7%). The relative risk of TMA was 16.1 [95% confidence interval (CI): 4.3–60.8] for patients in the CsA + SRL group as compared with those in the FK + MMF group. We also investigated in vitro the pathophysiological basis of this association. The CsA–SRL combination was found to be the only regimen that concomitantly displayed pro-necrotic and anti-angiogenic activities on arterial endothelial cells. We propose that this combination concurs to development of TMA through dual activities on endothelial cell death and repair.