Most immunosuppressive drugs provide targeted immunosuppression by selective inhibition of lymphocyte activation and proliferation. This study evaluated whether a change in the lymphocyte to neutrophil ratio (LNR) is related to acute rejection.In 74 cardiac transplant recipients peripheral blood lymphocyte and neutrophil counts were measured soon after (baseline) and three, six, and 12months after heart transplantation. The primary endpoint was the incidence of acute rejection.Significant acute rejection after heart transplantation occurred in 20 patients (27%) during a median follow-up of 49.4 [IQR 37.4-61.1] months. LNR significantly increased over time (0.1149±0.1354 at baseline, 0.2330±0.2266 at 3months, 0.2961±0.2849 at 6months, and 0.3521±0.2383 at 12months; P<0.001), especially during the first 3months in the group without acute rejection. The area under the curve of the change in LNR during the first three months (?LNR) for acute rejection was 0.565 (95% CI 0.420 to 0.710, P=0.380) on ROC curve analysis. The best cutoff value of ? LNR to differentiate those with and without acute rejection was =0.046 by ROC curve analysis. Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that the low ?LNR group (=0.046) had a significantly higher rate of acute rejection than the high ?LNR group (>0.046) (37.5% vs. 19.0%, log-rank: P=0.0358). The low ?LNR for the first 3months was an independent predictor of clinically significant acute rejection after adjusting for cytomegalovirus donor seropositive and recipient seronegative.The results of this study suggest that ?LNR over the first 3months after heart transplantation is a strong and independent predictor of acute rejection after heart transplantation. ?LNR can be used as an early biomarker for predicting of acute rejection after heart transplantation.
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