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1.  Monitoring of hemodialysis quality-of-care indicators: why is it important? 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:109.
Background
Meeting specific guideline targets is associated with improved survival rates and reduced hospitalizations in the dialysis population. This prospective work evaluated the adequacy of hemodialysis quality indicators in an in-center hemodialysis population with severe comorbidities, and assessed whether clinical practice could impact intermediate outcomes.
Methods
All the chronic hemodialysis patients treated in Rouen University Hospital hemodialysis Unit between January 2009 and April 2010 were included in this observational study. Every quarter, mean levels and prevalence of conformity were collected for the following indicators: anemia, dialysis dose, serum calcium and phosphorus, PTH, 25OH-vitamin D, albumin, serum bicarbonate, LDL-cholesterol, serum β2-microglobulin, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, intradialytic hypotension and vascular access. Conformity of quality-of-care indicators was determined according to targets defined by international guidelines, whenever available.
Results
Altogether, 124 patients were included in the study. Thirty-three patients were evaluated during the entire follow-up period. An improvement in the percentage of conformity was observed for hemoglobin, dialysis dose, phosphates, PTH, serum bicarbonate and β2-microglobulin in the global population. Failure to improve conformity rates for several indicators, including serum albumin, was found, possibly depending on patients’ comorbidities rather than on quality of care.
Conclusion
Overall, this study shows that following quality-of-care indicators can improve clinical practice by identifying center-specific weaknesses, prompting the establishment of corrective measures. Finally, we suggest that the definition and targets of some indicators, especially hypertension and LDL-cholesterol, be reviewed, since evidence of their association with mortality is not demonstrated.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-109
PMCID: PMC3701507  PMID: 23705852
End-stage renal disease; Guidelines; Hemodialysis; Morbidity; Quality-of-care indicators
2.  Progression of renal fibrosis: the underestimated role of endothelial alterations 
Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair  2012;5(Suppl 1):S15.
The vasculature of the kidney is a heterogeneous structure, whose functional integrity is essential for the regulation of renal function. Owing to the importance of the endothelium in vascular biology, chronic endothelial alterations are therefore susceptible to impair multiple aspects of renal physiology and, in turn, to contribute to renal fibrosis. Although systemic endothelial dysfunction is undoubtedly associated with chronic kidney disease, the role of the renal endothelium in the initiation and the progression of renal fibrosis remains largely elusive. In this article, we critically review recent evidence supporting direct and indirect contributions of renal endothelial alterations to fibrosis in the kidney. Specifically, the potential implications of renal endothelial dysfunction and endothelial paucity in parenchymal hypoxia, in the regulation of local inflammation, and in the generation of renal mesenchymal cells are reviewed. We thereafter discuss therapeutic perspectives targeting renal endothelial alterations during the initiation and the progression of renal fibrogenesis.
doi:10.1186/1755-1536-5-S1-S15
PMCID: PMC3368764  PMID: 23259724
3.  Identification of Periostin as a Critical Marker of Progression/Reversal of Hypertensive Nephropathy 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e31974.
Progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major health issue due to persistent accumulation of extracellular matrix in the injured kidney. However, our current understanding of fibrosis is limited, therapeutic options are lacking, and progressive degradation of renal function prevails in CKD patients. Uncovering novel therapeutic targets is therefore necessary.
We have previously demonstrated reversal of renal fibrosis with losartan in experimental hypertensive nephropathy. Reversal was achieved provided that the drug was administered before late stages of nephropathy, thereby determining a non-return point of CKD progression. In the present study, to identify factors critically involved in the progression of renal fibrosis, we introduced losartan at the non-return point in L-NAME treated Sprague Dawley rats. Our results showed either reversal or progression of renal disease with losartan, defining 2 groups according to the opposite evolution of renal function. We took advantage of these experimental conditions to perform a transcriptomic screening to identify novel factors potentially implicated in the mechanisms of CKD progression. A secondary analysis of selected markers was thereafter performed. Among the targets identified, periostin, an extracellular matrix protein, presented a significant 3.3-fold higher mRNA expression in progression compared to reversal group. Furthermore, independent of blood pressure, periostin was strongly correlated with plasma creatinine, proteinuria and renal blood flow, hallmarks of hypertensive renal disease severity. Periostin staining was predominant in the injured regions, both in experimental hypertensive and human nephropathy.
These results identify periostin as a previously unrecognized marker associated with disease progression and regression in hypertensive nephropathy and suggest measuring periostin may be a sensitive tool to evaluate severity, progression and response to therapy in human kidney disease associated to hypertension.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031974
PMCID: PMC3293874  PMID: 22403621

Results 1-3 (3)