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1.  Inflammation, Endothelial Dysfunction and Increased Left Ventricular Mass in Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Patients: A Longitudinal Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(9):e0138461.
Within this longitudinal study we investigated the association of inflammation markers C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) and endothelial dysfunction markers intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) with left ventricular mass indexed for height2·71 (LVMI) in hypertensive predialysis CKD patients.
Material and Methods
From 2004 to 2005, 182 incident consecutive adult patients from the outpatient CKD clinics of two hospitals in Greece with CKD and hypertension or using antihypertensive medication, were included. Of these, 107 patients underwent CRP (mg/l) and LVMI (g/height2·71) measurements annually for three years.
In the longitudinal analyses, using linear mixed modeling, a higher IL-6 (ß = 1.9 (95%ci:0.38;3.5), inflammation score based on CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α (ß = 5.0 (95%ci:0.72; 9.4) and VCAM-1 (ß = 0.01 (95%ci:0.005;0.02) were associated with higher LVMI. These models were adjusted for age, gender and primary renal disease, and for confounders that on top changed the beta with ≥10%, i.e. diuretic use (for IL-6 and inflammation score).
The results suggest that in predialysis CKD patients, inflammation as well as endothelial dysfunction may play an important role towards the increase in LVMI.
PMCID: PMC4580570  PMID: 26398099
2.  Longitudinal association of body mass index and waist circumference with left ventricular mass in hypertensive predialysis chronic kidney disease patients 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2013;28(Suppl 4):iv136-iv145.
This study aimed to investigate the association of both body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) with left ventricular mass (LVM) in hypertensive predialysis chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients.
From 2004 to 2005, 206 consecutive incident adult patients from the outpatient CKD clinics of two hospitals in Greece were included. Inclusion criteria were the presence of CKD and hypertension. BMI (kg/m2), WC (cm) and LVM (g) were assessed annually for 3 years.
The mean age was 68.1 years, mean BMI 29.1 kg/m2 and mean WC was 103.7 cm. The median LVM was 245.7 g (n = 179). In the cross-sectional data, linear regression models showed that WC {β = 1.2 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.15; 2.3]}, and not BMI [β = 2.1 (95% CI: −0.70; 4.8)], was significantly associated with LVM. After adjustment for age, sex, primary renal disease, smoking and history of cardiovascular disease, both BMI [β = 4.7 (95% CI: 2.0; 7.4] and WC [β = 1.2 (95% CI: 0.14; 2.3)] were significantly associated with LVM. These associations were pronounced in CKD stage 1–3, but not in CKD stage 4–5. In the longitudinal analysis, linear mixed models adjusting for confounders showed that both an increase in BMI [β = 2.9 (95% CI: 0.74; 5.1)] and an increase in WC [β = 1.1 (95% CI: 0.28; 1.8)] were significantly associated with an increase in LVM.
In hypertensive predialysis CKD patients, both BMI and WC were associated with LVM in CKD stage 1–3, but not in CKD stage 4–5. In the longitudinal analysis, both an increase in BMI and WC were associated with an increase in LVM. Future studies should focus on mechanisms responsible for the associations between anthropometric variables and LVM.
PMCID: PMC3814229  PMID: 24049104
body mass index; chronic kidney disease; hypertension; left ventricular mass; waist circumference
3.  Determinants of vascular function in patients with type 2 diabetes 
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is independently associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular diseases that is primarily due to the early development of advanced atherosclerotic vascular changes. The aim of our study was to investigate the predictors of vascular dysfunction in T2DM patients.
We studied 165 T2DM patients without known macrovascular or microvascular disease. Standard demographic (age, gender, cardiovascular risk factors, medications), clinical (body mass index, blood pressure) and laboratory (glucose, glycated hemoglobin, lipids, renal function) parameters were included in analyses. Brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD), nitrate mediated dilation (NMD) and Carotid-Femoral Pulse Wave Velocity (PWV) were measured.
Median age was 66 years and duration since T2DM diagnosis was 10 years, 70% were females and 79% hypertensives, while only 10% had a glycated hemoglobin <7%. FMD was positively associated with NMD (r 0.391, P < 0.001), while PWV was inversely associated with FMD (r -0.218, P = 0.014) and NMD (r -0.309, P < 0.001). Time since diagnosis of diabetes was the single independent predictor of FMD (β -0.40, P = 0.003). Increased age and fasting glucose and the presence of hypertension were independent predictors of decreased NMD (P < 0.001). Increased age and systolic blood pressure were independently associated with increased PWV (P < 0.001).
In T2DM patients, impairment of endothelium-dependent vasodilation was independently associated only with longer diabetes duration while no association with other established risk factors was found. Vascular smooth muscle dysfunction and increased arterial stiffness were more prominent in older T2DM patients with hypertension. Worse glycemic control was associated with impaired vascular smooth muscle function.
PMCID: PMC3490819  PMID: 23062182
Type 2 diabetes mellitus; Pulse wave velocity; Flow-mediated dilation; Nitrate-mediated dilation; Atherosclerosis
4.  Haemodynamic and renal effects of tadalafil in patients with cirrhosis 
A recent report introduced the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibition by vardenafil as a novel treatment of portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis. In the herein presented “letter to the editor”, the administration of tadalafil did not influence portal haemodynamics but impaired systemic haemodynamics in patients with cirrhosis. Our observations concur with the results of a report in a previous issue of World Journal of Gastroenterology (October 2008). Moreover, tadalafil adversely affected renal function in patients with decompensated liver disease.
PMCID: PMC2957613  PMID: 20954291
Tadalafil; Portal hypertension; Cirrhosis; Ascites; Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibition
5.  Lack of effects of pioglitazone on cardiac function in patients with type 2 diabetes and evidence of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction: a tissue doppler imaging study 
Thiazolidinediones, used for the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2), are associated with an increased incidence of heart failure. We sought to investigate the effects of pioglitazone on novel echocardiographic indices of left ventricular (LV) diastolic function in DM2 patients with LV diastolic dysfunction (LVDD).
Eighty-eight asymptomatic DM2 patients on metformin and/or sulfonylureas, aged 64.5 ± 7.7 years, without known cardiovascular disease, with normal LV systolic function and evidence of LVDD were randomly assigned to pioglitazone 30 mg/day (n = 42) or an increase in dose of other oral agents (n = 39) for 6 months. All patients underwent transthoracic conventional and Tissue Doppler Imaging echocardiography at baseline and follow-up. The primary end-point was change in early diastolic velocity of the mitral annulus (E').
Improvement of glycaemic control was similar in the 2 groups. A significant difference (p < 0.05) between the 2 groups was found in the treatment-induced changes in fasting insulin, the insulin resistance index HOMA, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, diastolic blood pressure (all in favor of pioglitazone) and in body weight (increase with pioglitazone). No significant changes were observed in any echocardiographic parameter in either group and did not differ between groups (p = NS for all). E' increased non-significantly and to a similar extent in both groups (p = NS).
In asymptomatic DM2 patients with LVDD, the addition of pioglitazone to oral conventional treatment for 6 months does not induce any adverse or favorable changes in LV diastolic or systolic function despite improvements in glycaemic control, insulin sensitivity, lipid profile, and blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC2955641  PMID: 20863381

Results 1-5 (5)