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1.  Protein carbamylation is associated with heart failure and mortality in diabetic patients with end stage renal disease 
Kidney international  2015;87(6):1201-1208.
Serum carbamylated albumin (C-Alb) levels are associated with excess mortality in patients with diabetic end stage renal disease. To gain insight into the pathophysiology of carbamylation, we determined associations between C-Alb and causes of death in patients on chronic hemodialysis. The Die Deutsche Diabetes Dialyse Studie (4D study) was a randomized controlled trial testing the effects of atorvastatin on survival in diabetic patients on dialysis during a median follow-up of 4 years. We stratified 1,161 patients by C-Alb to see if differences in carbamylation altered the effects of atorvastatin on survival. Baseline C-Alb significantly correlated with serum cardiac stress markers troponin T and N-terminal pro-B-type-natriuretic peptide, and was associated with history of heart failure and arrhythmia. C-Alb was strongly associated with 1-year adjusted risk of CV mortality, sudden cardiac death and the 4-year risk of death from congestive heart failure (Hazard Ratios of 3.06, 3.78 and 4.64, respectively), but not with myocardial infarction or stroke. Patients with low C-Alb, treated with atorvastatin, experienced a significant improvement in their 4-year survival (Hazard Ratio 0.692). High C-Alb levels are associated with ongoing cardiac damage, risk of congestive heart failure and sudden cardiac death. Thus, carbamylation and uremic cardiomyopathy are associated in patients with diabetes mellitus and kidney disease. Additionally, statins were specifically beneficial to hemodialysis patients with low C-Alb.
PMCID: PMC4449819  PMID: 25671766
cardiovascular disease; congestive heart failure; urea; hemodialysis; uremia; uremic toxins
2.  Left Ventricular Geometry and Blood Pressure as Predictors of Adverse Progression of Fabry Cardiomyopathy 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0140627.
In spite of several research studies help to describe the heart in Fabry disease (FD), the cardiomyopathy is not entirely understood. In addition, the impact of blood pressure and alterations in geometry have not been systematically evaluated.
In 74 FD patients (mean age 36±12 years; 45 females) the extent of myocardial fibrosis and its progression were quantified using cardiac magnetic-resonance-imaging with late enhancement technique (LE). Results were compared to standard echocardiography complemented by 2D-speckle-tracking, 3D-sphericity-index (SI) and standardized blood pressure measurement. At baseline, no patient received enzyme replacement therapy (ERT). After 51±24 months, a follow-up examination was performed.
Systolic blood pressure (SBP) was higher in patients with vs. without LE: 123±17 mmHg vs. 115±13 mmHg; P = 0.04. A positive correlation was found between SI and the amount of LE-positive myocardium (r = 0.51; P<0.001) indicating an association of higher SI in more advanced stages of the cardiomyopathy. SI at baseline was positively associated with the increase of LE-positive myocardium during follow-up. The highest SBP (125±19 mmHg) and also the highest SI (0.32±0.05) was found in the subgroup with a rapidly increasing LE (ie, ≥0.2% per year; n = 16; P = 0.04). Multivariate logistic regression analysis including SI, SBP, EF, left ventricular volumes, wall thickness and NT-proBNP adjusted for age and sex showed SI as the most powerful parameter to detect rapid progression of LE (AUC = 0.785; P<0.05).
LV geometry as assessed by the sphericity index is altered in relation to the stage of the Fabry cardiomyopathy. Although patients with FD are not hypertensive, the SBP has a clear impact on the progression of the cardiomyopathy.
PMCID: PMC4658091  PMID: 26600044
3.  Taming the chronic kidney disease epidemic: a global view of surveillance efforts 
Kidney international  2014;86(2):246-250.
Chronic kidney disease is now recognized to be a worldwide problem associated with significant morbidity and mortality and there is a steep increase in the number of patients reaching end-stage renal disease. In many parts of the world, the disease affects younger people without diabetes or hypertension. The costs to family and society can be enormous. Early recognition of CKD may help prevent disease progression and the subsequent decline in health and longevity. Surveillance programs for early CKD detection are beginning to be implemented in a few countries. In this article, we will focus on the challenges and successes of these programs with the hope that their eventual and widespread use will reduce the complications, deaths, disabilities, and economic burdens associated with CKD worldwide.
PMCID: PMC4593485  PMID: 24897034
chronic kidney disease; epidemiology; surveillance
4.  Methodology used in studies reporting chronic kidney disease prevalence: a systematic literature review 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2015;30(Suppl 4):iv6-iv16.
Many publications report the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the general population. Comparisons across studies are hampered as CKD prevalence estimations are influenced by study population characteristics and laboratory methods.
For this systematic review, two researchers independently searched PubMed, MEDLINE and EMBASE to identify all original research articles that were published between 1 January 2003 and 1 November 2014 reporting the prevalence of CKD in the European adult general population. Data on study methodology and reporting of CKD prevalence results were independently extracted by two researchers.
We identified 82 eligible publications and included 48 publications of individual studies for the data extraction. There was considerable variation in population sample selection. The majority of studies did not report the sampling frame used, and the response ranged from 10 to 87%. With regard to the assessment of kidney function, 67% used a Jaffe assay, whereas 13% used the enzymatic assay for creatinine determination. Isotope dilution mass spectrometry calibration was used in 29%. The CKD-EPI (52%) and MDRD (75%) equations were most often used to estimate glomerular filtration rate (GFR). CKD was defined as estimated GFR (eGFR) <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 in 92% of studies. Urinary markers of CKD were assessed in 60% of the studies. CKD prevalence was reported by sex and age strata in 54 and 50% of the studies, respectively. In publications with a primary objective of reporting CKD prevalence, 39% reported a 95% confidence interval.
The findings from this systematic review showed considerable variation in methods for sampling the general population and assessment of kidney function across studies reporting CKD prevalence. These results are utilized to provide recommendations to help optimize both the design and the reporting of future CKD prevalence studies, which will enhance comparability of study results.
PMCID: PMC4514069  PMID: 26209739
CKD; CKD-EPI equation; epidemiology; MDRD; systematic review
5.  Bardoxolone Methyl in Type 2 Diabetes and Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;369(26):2492-2503.
Although inhibitors of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system can slow the progression of diabetic kidney disease, the residual risk is high. Whether nuclear 1 factor (erythroid-derived 2)–related factor 2 activators further reduce this risk is unknown.
We randomly assigned 2185 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and stage 4 chronic kidney disease (estimated glomerular filtration rate [GFR], 15 to <30 ml per minute per 1.73 m2 of body-surface area) to bardoxolone methyl, at a daily dose of 20 mg, or placebo. The primary composite outcome was end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or death from cardiovascular causes.
The sponsor and the steering committee terminated the trial on the recommendation of the independent data and safety monitoring committee; the median follow-up was 9 months. A total of 69 of 1088 patients (6%) randomly assigned to bardoxolone methyl and 69 of 1097 (6%) randomly assigned to placebo had a primary composite outcome (hazard ratio in the bardoxolone methyl group vs. the placebo group, 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70 to 1.37; P = 0.92). In the bardoxolone methyl group, ESRD developed in 43 patients, and 27 patients died from cardiovascular causes; in the placebo group, ESRD developed in 51 patients, and 19 patients died from cardiovascular causes. A total of 96 patients in the bardoxolone methyl group were hospitalized for heart failure or died from heart failure, as compared with 55 in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.32 to 2.55; P<0.001). Estimated GFR, blood pressure, and the urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio increased significantly and body weight decreased significantly in the bardoxolone methyl group, as compared with the placebo group.
Among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and stage 4 chronic kidney disease, bardoxolone methyl did not reduce the risk of ESRD or death from cardiovascular causes. A higher rate of cardiovascular events with bardoxolone methyl than with placebo prompted termination of the trial. (Funded by Reata Pharmaceuticals; BEACON number, NCT01351675.)
PMCID: PMC4496027  PMID: 24206459
6.  Diabetic Kidney Disease– A clinical update from Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) 
Kidney international  2014;87(1):20-30.
The incidence and prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) continue to grow dramatically throughout the world, due primarily to the increase in type 2 DM (T2DM). Although improvements in DM and hypertension management have reduced the proportion of diabetic individuals who develop chronic kidney disease (CKD) and progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the sheer increase in people developing DM will have a major impact on dialysis and transplant needs. This KDIGO conference addressed a number of controversial areas in the management of DM patients with CKD, including aspects of screening for CKD with measurements of albuminuria and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR); defining treatment outcomes; glycemic management in both those developing CKD and those with ESRD; hypertension goals and management, including blockers of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system; and lipid management.
PMCID: PMC4214898  PMID: 24786708
Albuminuria; blood pressure; diabetic kidney disease; glycemic control; lipid management
8.  High convection volume in online post-dilution haemodiafiltration: relevance, safety and costs 
Clinical Kidney Journal  2015;8(4):368-373.
Increasing evidence suggests that treatment with online post-dilution haemodiafiltration (HDF) improves clinical outcome in patients with end-stage kidney disease, if compared with haemodialysis (HD). Although the primary analyses of three large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) showed inconclusive results, post hoc analyses of these and previous observational studies comparing online post-dilution HDF with HD showed that the risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality is lowest in patients who are treated with high-volume HDF. As such, the magnitude of the convection volume seems crucial and can be considered as the ‘dose’ of HDF. In this narrative review, the relevance of high convection volume in online post-dilution HDF is discussed. In addition, we briefly touch upon some safety and cost issues.
PMCID: PMC4515895  PMID: 26251701
convection volume; costs; hemodiafiltration; mortality; safety
9.  Fifty years of ERA-EDTA Registry—a registry in transition 
In 1964 the ERA-EDTA Registry was started as one of the first renal registries in the world. This meeting report describes how this European registry has developed over the 50 years of its existence. Where the first report presented patient numbers, nowadays the Registry acts as a platform for collaborative renal research in Europe. In addition, it provides training in epidemiology methods to nephrologists and other renal researchers.
PMCID: PMC4455185  PMID: 26097780
dialysis; education; epidemiology; registry; renal replacement therapy; transplantation
10.  Effect of High-Flux Dialysis on Circulating FGF-23 Levels in End-Stage Renal Disease Patients: Results from a Randomized Trial 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0128079.
In patients undergoing maintenance hemodialysis (HD), increased levels of circulating fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) are independently associated with cardiovascular events and mortality. Interventional strategies aiming to reduce levels of FGF-23 in HD patients are of particular interest. The purpose of the current study was to compare the impact of high-flux versus low-flux HD on circulating FGF-23 levels.
We conducted a post-hoc analysis of the MINOXIS study, including 127 dialysis patients randomized to low-flux (n = 62) and high-flux (n = 65) HD for 52 weeks. Patients with valid measures for FGF-23 investigated baseline and after 52 weeks were included.
Compared to baseline, a significant increase in FGF-23 levels after one year of low-flux HD was observed (Delta plasma FGF-23: +4026 RU/ml; p < 0.001). In contrast, FGF-23 levels remained stable in the high flux group (Delta plasma FGF-23: +373 RU/ml, p = 0.70). The adjusted difference of the absolute change in FGF-23 levels between the two treatment groups was statistically significant (p < 0.01).
Over a period of 12 months, high-flux HD was associated with stable FGF-23 levels, whereas the low-flux HD group showed an increase of FGF-23. However, the implications of the different FGF 23 time-trends in patients on high flux dialysis, as compared to the control group, remain to be explored in specifically designed clinical trials.
Trial Registration
German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS) DRKS00007612.
PMCID: PMC4449206  PMID: 26024521
11.  Hepcidin-25 in Diabetic Chronic Kidney Disease Is Predictive for Mortality and Progression to End Stage Renal Disease 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0123072.
Anemia is common and is associated with impaired clinical outcomes in diabetic chronic kidney disease (CKD). It may be explained by reduced erythropoietin (EPO) synthesis, but recent data suggest that EPO-resistance and diminished iron availability due to inflammation contribute significantly. In this cohort study, we evaluated the impact of hepcidin-25—the key hormone of iron-metabolism—on clinical outcomes in diabetic patients with CKD along with endogenous EPO levels.
249 diabetic patients with CKD of any stage, excluding end-stage renal disease (ESRD), were enrolled (2003–2005), if they were not on EPO-stimulating agent and iron therapy. Hepcidin-25 levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. The association of hepcidin-25 at baseline with clinical variables was investigated using linear regression models. All-cause mortality and a composite endpoint of CKD progression (ESRD or doubling of serum creatinine) were analyzed by Cox proportional hazards models.
Patients (age 67 yrs, 53% male, GFR 51 ml/min, hemoglobin 131 g/L, EPO 13.5 U/L, hepcidin-25 62.0 ng/ml) were followed for a median time of 4.2 yrs. Forty-nine patients died (19.7%) and forty (16.1%) patients reached the composite endpoint. Elevated hepcidin levels were independently associated with higher ferritin-levels, lower EPO-levels and impaired kidney function (all p<0.05). Hepcidin was related to mortality, along with its interaction with EPO, older age, greater proteinuria and elevated CRP (all p<0.05). Hepcidin was also predictive for progression of CKD, aside from baseline GFR, proteinuria, low albumin- and hemoglobin-levels and a history of CVD (all p<0.05).
We found hepcidin-25 to be associated with EPO and impaired kidney function in diabetic CKD. Elevated hepcidin-25 and EPO-levels were independent predictors of mortality, while hepcidin-25 was also predictive for progression of CKD. Both hepcidin-25 and EPO may represent important prognostic factors of clinical outcome and have the potential to further define “high risk” populations in CKD.
PMCID: PMC4404250  PMID: 25894587
12.  Heart Failure in a Cohort of Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: The GCKD Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(4):e0122552.
Background and Aims
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a risk factor for development and progression of heart failure (HF). CKD and HF share common risk factors, but few data exist on the prevalence, signs and symptoms as well as correlates of HF in populations with CKD of moderate severity. We therefore aimed to examine the prevalence and correlates of HF in the German Chronic Kidney Disease (GCKD) study, a large observational prospective study.
Methods and Results
We analyzed data from 5,015 GCKD patients aged 18–74 years with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of <60 ml/min/1.73m² or with an eGFR ≥60 and overt proteinuria (>500 mg/d). We evaluated a definition of HF based on the Gothenburg score, a clinical HF score used in epidemiological studies (Gothenburg HF), and self-reported HF. Factors associated with HF were identified using multivariable adjusted logistic regression. The prevalence of Gothenburg HF was 43% (ranging from 24% in those with eGFR >90 to 59% in those with eGFR<30 ml/min/1.73m2). The corresponding estimate for self-reported HF was 18% (range 5%-24%). Lower eGFR was significantly and independently associated with the Gothenburg definition of HF (p-trend <0.001). Additional significantly associated correlates included older age, female gender, higher BMI, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, valvular heart disease, anemia, sleep apnea, and lower educational status.
The burden of self-reported and Gothenburg HF among patients with CKD is high. The proportion of patients who meet the criteria for Gothenburg HF in a European cohort of patients with moderate CKD is more than twice as high as the prevalence of self-reported HF. However, because of the shared signs, symptoms and medications of HF and CKD, the Gothenburg score cannot be used to reliably define HF in CKD patients. Our results emphasize the need for early screening for HF in patients with CKD.
PMCID: PMC4395150  PMID: 25874373
13.  Renal replacement therapy in Europe: a summary of the 2012 ERA-EDTA Registry Annual Report 
Clinical Kidney Journal  2015;8(3):248-261.
This article summarizes the 2012 European Renal Association—European Dialysis and Transplant Association Registry Annual Report (available at with a specific focus on older patients (defined as ≥65 years).
Data provided by 45 national or regional renal registries in 30 countries in Europe and bordering the Mediterranean Sea were used. Individual patient level data were received from 31 renal registries, whereas 14 renal registries contributed data in an aggregated form. The incidence, prevalence and survival probabilities of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) receiving renal replacement therapy (RRT) and renal transplantation rates for 2012 are presented.
In 2012, the overall unadjusted incidence rate of patients with ESRD receiving RRT was 109.6 per million population (pmp) (n = 69 035), ranging from 219.9 pmp in Portugal to 24.2 pmp in Montenegro. The proportion of incident patients ≥75 years varied from 15 to 44% between countries. The overall unadjusted prevalence on 31 December 2012 was 716.7 pmp (n = 451 270), ranging from 1670.2 pmp in Portugal to 146.7 pmp in the Ukraine. The proportion of prevalent patients ≥75 years varied from 11 to 32% between countries. The overall renal transplantation rate in 2012 was 28.3 pmp (n = 15 673), with the highest rate seen in the Spanish region of Catalonia. The proportion of patients ≥65 years receiving a transplant ranged from 0 to 35%. Five-year adjusted survival for all RRT patients was 59.7% (95% confidence interval, CI: 59.3–60.0) which fell to 39.3% (95% CI: 38.7–39.9) in patients 65–74 years and 21.3% (95% CI: 20.8–21.9) in patients ≥75 years.
PMCID: PMC4440462  PMID: 26034584
end-stage renal disease; incidence; prevalence; renal replacement therapy; survival
14.  SGLT-2 inhibitors and cardiovascular risk: Proposed pathways and review of ongoing outcome trials 
Given the multi-faceted pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), it is likely that interventions to mitigate this risk must address cardiovascular (CV) risk factors beyond glucose itself. Sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors are newer antihyperglycaemic agents with apparent multiple effects. Inherent in their mode of action to decrease glucose reabsorption by the kidneys by increasing urinary glucose excretion, these agents improve glycaemic control independent of insulin secretion with a low risk of hypoglycaemia. In this review, we outline those CV risk factors that this class appears to influence and provide the design features and trial characteristics of six ongoing outcome trials involving more than 41,000 individuals with T2DM. Those risk factors beyond glucose that can potentially be modulated positively with SGLT-2 inhibitors include blood pressure, weight, visceral adiposity, hyperinsulinaemia, arterial stiffness, albuminuria, circulating uric acid levels and oxidative stress. On the other hand, small increases in low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol levels have also been observed for the class, which theoretically might offset some of these benefits. The potential translational impact of these effects is being tested with outcome trials, also reviewed in this article, powered to assess both macrovascular as well as certain microvascular outcomes in T2DM. These are expected to begin to report in late 2015.
PMCID: PMC4361459  PMID: 25589482
Type 2 diabetes; cardiovascular complications; review; macrovascular; sodium glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors
15.  Optimization of the convection volume in online post-dilution haemodiafiltration: practical and technical issues 
Clinical Kidney Journal  2015;8(2):191-198.
In post-dilution online haemodiafiltration (ol-HDF), a relationship has been demonstrated between the magnitude of the convection volume and survival. However, to achieve high convection volumes (>22 L per session) detailed notion of its determining factors is highly desirable. This manuscript summarizes practical problems and pitfalls that were encountered during the quest for high convection volumes. Specifically, it addresses issues such as type of vascular access, needles, blood flow rate, recirculation, filtration fraction, anticoagulation and dialysers. Finally, five of the main HDF systems in Europe are briefly described as far as HDF prescription and optimization of the convection volume is concerned.
PMCID: PMC4370303  PMID: 25815176
convection volume; haemodiafiltration
16.  Kidney function as an underestimated factor for reduced health related quality of life in patients with Fabry disease 
BMC Nephrology  2014;15:188.
Impairments of health related quality of life (HRQoL) are frequently observed in Fabry disease (FD) and are known to be related to neuropathic pain and cardiovascular events. This study aimed to explore the role of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in a large cohort of patients with FD.
In 96 patients (53% female; age 40 ± 12 yrs) with genetically proven FD, HRQoL was assessed by the Medical Outcomes Study (SF-36) questionnaire. All patients were naïve to enzyme replacement therapy. Three categories for kidney dysfunction were chosen, eGFR ≥/<60 ml/min/1.73 m2 or need of renal replacement therapy (RRT). Minor (e.g. arrhythmia, angina pectoris, etc.) and major (e.g. myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass, stroke or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) vascular events as well as pain and pain therapy were considered in linear regression analyses with the dimensions of HRQoL.
Ten patients (10%) had impaired kidney function and a further nine were on RRT (9.4%). Kidney function and pain emerged as the main factors associated with lower scores on the SF 36, in particular on physical components (PCS beta-coefficients for CKD −6.2, for RRT −11.8, for pain −9.1, p < 0.05, respectively), while controlling for gender, vascular event and pain-therapy. Relationships were found for mental aspects of HRQoL. Age and history of vascular events were not related to HRQoL.
Cardiovascular events and pain are important factors related to HRQoL, social functioning and depression. Our study highlights impaired chronic kidney disease, in particular after initiation of RRT, as a strong determinant of reduced HRQoL in FD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2369-15-188) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4280765  PMID: 25432518
Quality of life; SF-36; Chronic kidney disease; Fabry disease
17.  Rationale, design, and baseline characteristics of a randomized, placebo-controlled cardiovascular outcome trial of empagliflozin (EMPA-REG OUTCOME™) 
Evidence concerning the importance of glucose lowering in the prevention of cardiovascular (CV) outcomes remains controversial. Given the multi-faceted pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in diabetes, it is likely that any intervention to mitigate this risk must address CV risk factors beyond glycemia alone. The SGLT-2 inhibitor empagliflozin improves glucose control, body weight and blood pressure when used as monotherapy or add-on to other antihyperglycemic agents in patients with type 2 diabetes. The aim of the ongoing EMPA-REG OUTCOME™ trial is to determine the long-term CV safety of empagliflozin, as well as investigating potential benefits on macro-/microvascular outcomes.
Patients who were drug-naïve (HbA1c ≥7.0% and ≤9.0%), or on background glucose-lowering therapy (HbA1c ≥7.0% and ≤10.0%), and were at high risk of CV events, were randomized (1:1:1) and treated with empagliflozin 10 mg, empagliflozin 25 mg, or placebo (double blind, double dummy) superimposed upon the standard of care. The primary outcome is time to first occurrence of CV death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, or non-fatal stroke. CV events will be prospectively adjudicated by an independent Clinical Events Committee. The trial will continue until ≥691 confirmed primary outcome events have occurred, providing a power of 90% to yield an upper limit of the adjusted 95% CI for a hazard ratio of <1.3 with a one-sided α of 0.025, assuming equal risks between placebo and empagliflozin (both doses pooled). Hierarchical testing for superiority will follow for the primary outcome and key secondary outcomes (time to first occurrence of CV death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke or hospitalization for unstable angina pectoris) where non-inferiority is achieved.
Between Sept 2010 and April 2013, 592 clinical sites randomized and treated 7034 patients (41% from Europe, 20% from North America, and 19% from Asia). At baseline, the mean age was 63 ± 9 years, BMI 30.6 ± 5.3 kg/m2, HbA1c 8.1 ± 0.8%, and eGFR 74 ± 21 ml/min/1.73 m2. The study is expected to report in 2015.
EMPA-REG OUTCOME™ will determine the CV safety of empagliflozin in a cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes and high CV risk, with the potential to show cardioprotection.
Trial registration NCT01131676
PMCID: PMC4072621  PMID: 24943000
Blood pressure; Body weight; Empagliflozin; Glycemic control; Macrovascular; Microvascular; SGLT2 inhibitor; Type 2 diabetes
18.  Single Nucleotide Variants in the Protein C Pathway and Mortality in Dialysis Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97251.
The protein C pathway plays an important role in the maintenance of endothelial barrier function and in the inflammatory and coagulant processes that are characteristic of patients on dialysis. We investigated whether common single nucleotide variants (SNV) in genes encoding protein C pathway components were associated with all-cause 5 years mortality risk in dialysis patients.
Single nucleotides variants in the factor V gene (F5 rs6025; factor V Leiden), the thrombomodulin gene (THBD rs1042580), the protein C gene (PROC rs1799808 and 1799809) and the endothelial protein C receptor gene (PROCR rs867186, rs2069951, and rs2069952) were genotyped in 1070 dialysis patients from the NEtherlands COoperative Study on the Adequacy of Dialysis (NECOSAD) cohort) and in 1243 dialysis patients from the German 4D cohort.
Factor V Leiden was associated with a 1.5-fold (95% CI 1.1–1.9) increased 5-year all-cause mortality risk and carriers of the AG/GG genotypes of the PROC rs1799809 had a 1.2-fold (95% CI 1.0–1.4) increased 5-year all-cause mortality risk. The other SNVs in THBD, PROC, and PROCR were not associated with 5-years mortality.
Our study suggests that factor V Leiden and PROC rs1799809 contributes to an increased mortality risk in dialysis patients.
PMCID: PMC4016291  PMID: 24816905
19.  Renal replacement therapy in Europe: a summary of the 2011 ERA–EDTA Registry Annual Report 
Clinical Kidney Journal  2014;7(2):227-238.
This article provides a summary of the 2011 ERA–EDTA Registry Annual Report (available at
Data on renal replacement therapy (RRT) for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) from national and regional renal registries in 30 countries in Europe and bordering the Mediterranean Sea were used. From 27 registries, individual patient data were received, whereas 17 registries contributed data in aggregated form. We present the incidence and prevalence of RRT, and renal transplant rates in 2011. In addition, survival probabilities and expected remaining lifetimes were calculated for those registries providing individual patient data.
The overall unadjusted incidence rate of RRT in 2011 among all registries reporting to the ERA–EDTA Registry was 117 per million population (pmp) (n = 71.631). Incidence rates varied from 24 pmp in Ukraine to 238 pmp in Turkey. The overall unadjusted prevalence of RRT for ESRD on 31 December 2011 was 692 pmp (n = 425 824). The highest prevalence was reported by Portugal (1662 pmp) and the lowest by Ukraine (131 pmp). Among all registries, a total of 22 814 renal transplantations were performed (37 pmp). The highest overall transplant rate was reported from Spain, Cantabria (81 pmp), whereas the highest rate of living donor transplants was reported from Turkey (39 pmp). For patients who started RRT between 2002 and 2006, the unadjusted 5-year patient survival on RRT was 46.8% [95% confidence interval (CI) 46.6–47.0], and on dialysis 39.3% (95% CI 39.2–39.4). The unadjusted 5-year patient survival after the first renal transplantation performed between 2002 and 2006 was 86.7% (95% CI 86.2–87.2) for kidneys from deceased donors and 94.3% (95% CI 93.6–95.0) for kidneys from living donors.
PMCID: PMC4377783  PMID: 25852881
end-stage renal disease; incidence; prevalence; renal replacement therapy; survival
20.  Increased Arterial Diameters in the Posterior Cerebral Circulation in Men with Fabry Disease 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e87054.
A high load of white matter lesions and enlarged basilar arteries have been shown in selected patients with Fabry disease, a disorder associated with an increased stroke risk. We studied a large cohort of patients with Fabry disease to differentially investigate white matter lesion load and cerebral artery diameters. We retrospectively analyzed cranial magnetic resonance imaging scans of 87 consecutive Fabry patients, 20 patients with ischemic stroke, and 36 controls. We determined the white matter lesion load applying the Fazekas score on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery sequences and measured the diameters of cerebral arteries on 3D-reconstructions of the time-of-flight-MR-angiography scans. Data of different Fabry patient subgroups (males – females; normal – impaired renal function) were compared with data of patients with stroke and controls. A history of stroke or transient ischemic attacks was present in 4/30 males (13%) and 5/57 (9%) females with Fabry disease, all in the anterior circulation. Only one man with Fabry disease showed confluent cerebral white matter lesions in the Fazekas score assessment (1%). Male Fabry patients had a larger basilar artery (p<0.01) and posterior cerebral artery diameter (p<0.05) compared to male controls. This was independent of disease severity as measured by renal function and did not lead to changes in arterial blood flow properties. A basilar artery diameter of >3.2 mm distinguished between men with Fabry disease and controls (sensitivity: 87%, specificity: 86%, p<0.001), but not from stroke patients. Enlarged arterial diameters of the posterior circulation are present only in men with Fabry disease independent of disease severity.
PMCID: PMC3903616  PMID: 24475221
21.  Residual macrovascular risk in 2013: what have we learned? 
Cardiovascular disease poses a major challenge for the 21st century, exacerbated by the pandemics of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. While best standards of care, including high-dose statins, can ameliorate the risk of vascular complications, patients remain at high risk of cardiovascular events. The Residual Risk Reduction Initiative (R3i) has previously highlighted atherogenic dyslipidaemia, defined as the imbalance between proatherogenic triglyceride-rich apolipoprotein B-containing-lipoproteins and antiatherogenic apolipoprotein A-I-lipoproteins (as in high-density lipoprotein, HDL), as an important modifiable contributor to lipid-related residual cardiovascular risk, especially in insulin-resistant conditions. As part of its mission to improve awareness and clinical management of atherogenic dyslipidaemia, the R3i has identified three key priorities for action: i) to improve recognition of atherogenic dyslipidaemia in patients at high cardiometabolic risk with or without diabetes; ii) to improve implementation and adherence to guideline-based therapies; and iii) to improve therapeutic strategies for managing atherogenic dyslipidaemia. The R3i believes that monitoring of non-HDL cholesterol provides a simple, practical tool for treatment decisions regarding the management of lipid-related residual cardiovascular risk. Addition of a fibrate, niacin (North and South America), omega-3 fatty acids or ezetimibe are all options for combination with a statin to further reduce non-HDL cholesterol, although lacking in hard evidence for cardiovascular outcome benefits. Several emerging treatments may offer promise. These include the next generation peroxisome proliferator-activated receptorα agonists, cholesteryl ester transfer protein inhibitors and monoclonal antibody therapy targeting proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9. However, long-term outcomes and safety data are clearly needed. In conclusion, the R3i believes that ongoing trials with these novel treatments may help to define the optimal management of atherogenic dyslipidaemia to reduce the clinical and socioeconomic burden of residual cardiovascular risk.
PMCID: PMC3922777  PMID: 24460800
Residual cardiovascular risk; Atherogenic dyslipidaemia; Type 2 diabetes; Therapeutic options
22.  The effects of colestilan versus placebo and sevelamer in patients with CKD 5D and hyperphosphataemia: a 1-year prospective randomized study 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2013;29(5):1061-1073.
This study compared the effects of short-term titrated colestilan (a novel non-absorbable, non-calcium, phosphate binder) with placebo, and evaluated the safety and efficacy of colestilan over 1 year compared with sevelamer, in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) 5D.
This prospective multicentre study comprised a 4-week phosphate binder washout period, a 16-week short-term, flexible-dose, treatment period (including a 4-week placebo-controlled withdrawal period) and a 40-week extension treatment phase.
At Week 16 (the end of the 4-week placebo-controlled withdrawal period), serum phosphorus level was 0.43 mmol/L (1.32 mg/dL) lower with colestilan than placebo (P < 0.001; primary end point). Serum LDL-C level was also lower with colestilan than with placebo (P < 0.001). Both colestilan and sevelamer produced significant reductions from baseline in serum phosphorus levels (P < 0.001), maintained for 1 year, and the proportion of patients achieving target levels of ≤1.78 mmol/L (5.5 mg/dL) or ≤1.95 mmol/L (6.0 mg/dL) at study end were similar (65.3 and 73.3%, respectively, for colestilan, and 66.9 and 77.4%, respectively, for sevelamer). Serum calcium level remained stable in the colestilan group but tended to increase slightly in the sevelamer group (end-of-study increase of 0.035 mmol/L over baseline). Both binders produced similar reductions from baseline in LDL-C level (P < 0.001), and responder rates after 1 year, using a target of <1.83 mmol/L (70 mg/dL) or <2.59 mmol/L (100 mg/dL) were similar in both groups (50.7 and 85.3% for colestilan and 54.0 and 80.6% for sevelamer). Colestilan was generally well tolerated.
Colestilan is effective and safe for the treatment of hyperphosphataemia in patients with CKD 5D, and affords similar long-term phosphorus and cholesterol reductions/responder rates to sevelamer.
PMCID: PMC4005560  PMID: 24302608
chronic kidney disease; colestilan; hyperphosphataemia; placebo; sevelamer
23.  Transthyretin Predicts Cardiovascular Outcome in Hemodialysis Patients With Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(11):2365-2372.
BMI and albumin are commonly accepted parameters to recognize wasting in dialysis patients and are powerful predictors of morbidity and mortality. However, both parameters reveal limitations and may not cover the entire range of patients with wasting. The visceral protein transthyretin (TTR) may be helpful in overcoming the diagnostic and prognostic gap. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the association of TTR with morbidity and mortality in hemodialysis patients.
The TTR concentration was determined in plasma samples of 1,177 hemodialysis patients with type 2 diabetes. Cox regression analyses were used to determine hazard ratios (HRs) for the risk of cardiovascular end points (CVEs) and mortality according to quartiles of TTR concentration for the total study cohort and the subgroups BMI ≥23 kg/m2, albumin concentration ≥3.8 g/dL, and a combination of both.
A low TTR concentration was associated with an increased risk for CVE for the total study cohort (HR 1.65 [95% CI 1.27–2.14]), patients with BMI ≥23 kg/m2 (1.70 [1.22–2.37]), albumin ≥3.8 g/dL (1.68 [1.17–2.42]), and the combination of both (1.69 [1.13–2.53]). Additionally, a low TTR concentration predicted mortality for the total study cohort (1.79 [1.43–2.24]) and patients with BMI ≥23 kg/m2 (1.46 [1.09–1.95]).
The current study demonstrated that TTR is a useful predictor for cardiovascular outcome and mortality in diabetic hemodialysis patients. TTR was particularly useful in patients who were not identified to be at risk by BMI or albumin status.
PMCID: PMC3476886  PMID: 22923667
24.  Potential role of vitamin D deficiency on Fabry cardiomyopathy 
Patients with Fabry disease frequently develop left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy and renal fibrosis. Due to heat intolerance and an inability to sweat, patients tend to avoid exposure to sunlight. We hypothesized that subsequent vitamin D deficiency may contribute to Fabry cardiomyopathy. This study investigated the vitamin D status and its association with LV mass and adverse clinical symptoms in patients with Fabry disease. 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) was measured in 111 patients who were genetically proven to have Fabry disease. LV mass and cardiomyopathy were assessed by magnetic resonance imaging and echocardiography. In cross-sectional analyses, associations with adverse clinical outcomes were determined by linear and binary logistic regression analyses, respectively, and were adjusted for age, sex, BMI and season. Patients had a mean age of 40 ± 13 years (42 % males), and a mean 25(OH)D of 23.5 ± 11.4 ng/ml. Those with overt vitamin D deficiency (25[OH]D ≤ 15 ng/ml) had an adjusted six fold higher risk of cardiomyopathy, compared to those with sufficient 25(OH)D levels >30 ng/ml (p = 0.04). The mean LV mass was distinctively different with 170 ± 75 g in deficient, 154 ± 60 g in moderately deficient and 128 ± 58 g in vitamin D sufficient patients (p = 0.01). With increasing severity of vitamin D deficiency, the median levels of proteinuria increased, as well as the prevalences of depression, edema, cornea verticillata and the need for medical pain therapy. In conclusion, vitamin D deficiency was strongly associated with cardiomyopathy and adverse clinical symptoms in patients with Fabry disease. Whether vitamin D supplementation improves complications of Fabry disease, requires a randomized controlled trial.
PMCID: PMC3976508  PMID: 24141790
25.  Carbamylation of Serum Albumin as a Risk Factor for Mortality in Patients with Kidney Failure 
Science translational medicine  2013;5(175):175ra29.
Urea, the toxic end-product of protein catabolism, is elevated in end-stage renal disease (ESRD), although it is unclear whether or how it contributes to disease. Urea can promote the carbamylation of proteins on multiple lysine side chains, including human albumin, which has a predominant carbamylation site on lysine 549. The proportion of serum albumin carbamylated on Lys-549 (%C-Alb) correlated with time-averaged blood urea concentrations and was twice as high in ESRD patients than in non-uremic subjects (0.90% vs. 0.42%, P<0.0001). Baseline %C-Alb was higher in ESRD subjects who died within 1-year than in those who survived longer than 1 year (1.01% vs. 0.77%, P<0.001) and was associated with an increased risk of death within 1 year (HR of 3.76, 95% CI: 2.20–6.43, P<0.0001). These findings were validated in an independent cohort of diabetic ESRD subjects (HR 3.73, 95% CI: 2.00–6.96, P<0.001). Decreased concentrations of serum amino acids correlated with higher %C-Alb in ESRD patients, and mice with diet-induced amino acid deficiencies exhibited greater susceptibility to albumin carbamylation than did chow-fed mice. In vitro studies showed that amino acids such as cysteine, histidine, arginine, lysine, as well as other nucleophiles such as taurine, inhibited cyanate-induced C-Alb formation at physiologic pH and temperature. Together, these results suggest that chronically elevated urea promotes carbamylation of proteins in ESRD, and that serum amino acid concentrations may modulate this protein modification. In summary, we have identified serum %C-Alb as a risk factor for mortality in patients with ESRD and propose that this risk factor may be modifiable with supplemental amino acid therapy.
PMCID: PMC3697767  PMID: 23467560

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