This suggests that only during chronic HD is the TNF-alpha system activated. High levels of sTNFR, found in ESRF or CAPD patients do not reflect activation of TNF-alpha system, but are the result of impaired renal clearance of the receptors. Indeed, we found a strong linear correlation between the levels of sTNF receptors and renal function. Nevertheless, these high levels of sTNF receptors are biological active, as they were able to bind active TNF-alpha up to 75% (range 46 - 83%) and thus inhibit the bioactivity and bioavailability of produced TNF-alpha. This may play a role in the immunoincompetence of these patients.