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1.  Aging and uremia: Is there cellular and molecular crossover? 
World Journal of Nephrology  2015;4(1):19-30.
Many observers have noted that the morphological changes that occur in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients resemble those seen in the geriatric population, with strikingly similar morbidity and mortality profiles and rates of frailty in the two groups, and shared characteristics at a pathophysiological level especially in respect to the changes seen in their vascular and immune systems. However, whilst much has been documented about the shared physical characteristics of aging and uremia, the molecular and cellular similarities between the two have received less attention. In order to bridge this perceived gap we have reviewed published research concerning the common molecular processes seen in aging subjects and CKD patients, with specific attention to altered proteostasis, mitochondrial dysfunction, post-translational protein modification, and senescence and telomere attrition. We have also sought to illustrate how the cell death and survival pathways apoptosis, necroptosis and autophagy are closely interrelated, and how an understanding of these overlapping pathways is helpful in order to appreciate the shared molecular basis behind the pathophysiology of aging and uremia. This analysis revealed many common molecular characteristics and showed similar patterns of cellular dysfunction. We conclude that the accelerated aging seen in patients with CKD is underpinned at the molecular level, and that a greater understanding of these molecular processes might eventually lead to new much needed therapeutic strategies of benefit to patients with renal disease.
PMCID: PMC4317625  PMID: 25664244
Aging; Uremia; Apoptosis; Autophagy; Senescence; Telomeres; Mitochondria; Post-translational protein modification; Klotho
2.  The challenge of translating ischemic conditioning from animal models to humans: the role of comorbidities 
Disease Models & Mechanisms  2014;7(12):1321-1333.
Following a period of ischemia (local restriction of blood supply to a tissue), the restoration of blood supply to the affected area causes significant tissue damage. This is known as ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and is a central pathological mechanism contributing to many common disease states. The medical complications caused by IRI in individuals with cerebrovascular or heart disease are a leading cause of death in developed countries. IRI is also of crucial importance in fields as diverse as solid organ transplantation, acute kidney injury and following major surgery, where post-operative organ dysfunction is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Given its clinical impact, novel interventions are urgently needed to minimize the effects of IRI, not least to save lives but also to reduce healthcare costs. In this Review, we examine the experimental technique of ischemic conditioning, which entails exposing organs or tissues to brief sub-lethal episodes of ischemia and reperfusion, before, during or after a lethal ischemic insult. This approach has been found to confer profound tissue protection against IRI. We discuss the translation of ischemic conditioning strategies from bench to bedside, and highlight where transition into human clinical studies has been less successful than in animal models, reviewing potential reasons for this. We explore the challenges that preclude more extensive clinical translation of these strategies and emphasize the role that underlying comorbidities have in altering the efficacy of these strategies in improving patient outcomes.
PMCID: PMC4257001  PMID: 25481012
Comorbidities; Ischemic postconditioning; Ischemic preconditioning; Remote ischemic preconditioning
3.  Ergocalciferol and Microcirculatory Function in Chronic Kidney Disease and Concomitant Vitamin D Deficiency: An Exploratory, Double Blind, Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e99461.
Background and Objectives
Vitamin D deficiency and endothelial dysfunction are non-traditional risk factors for cardiovascular events in chronic kidney disease. Previous studies in chronic kidney disease have failed to demonstrate a beneficial effect of vitamin D on arterial stiffness, left ventricular mass and inflammation but none have assessed the effect of vitamin D on microcirculatory endothelial function.
Study Design
We conducted a randomised controlled trial of 38 patients with non diabetic chronic kidney disease stage 3–4 and concomitant vitamin D deficiency (<16 ng/dl) who received oral ergocalciferol (50,000 IU weekly for one month followed by 50,000 IU monthly) or placebo over 6 months. The primary outcome was change in microcirculatory function measured by laser Doppler flowmetry after iontophoresis of acetylcholine. Secondary endpoints were tissue advanced glycation end products, sublingual functional capillary density and flow index as well as macrovascular parameters. Parallel in vitro experiments were conducted to determine the effect of ergocalciferol on cultured human endothelial cells.
Twenty patients received ergocalciferol and 18 patients received placebo. After 6 months, there was a significant improvement in the ergocalciferol group in both endothelium dependent microcirculatory vasodilatation after iontophoresis of acetylcholine (p = 0.03) and a reduction in tissue advanced glycation end products (p = 0.03). There were no changes in sublingual microcirculatory parameters. Pulse pressure (p = 0.01) but not aortic pulse wave velocity was reduced. There were no significant changes in bone mineral parameters, blood pressure or left ventricular mass index suggesting that ergocalciferol improved endothelial function independently of these parameters. In parallel experiments, expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and activity were increased in human endothelial cells in a dose dependent manner.
Ergocalciferol improved microcirculatory endothelial function in patients with chronic kidney disease and concomitant vitamin D deficiency. This process may be mediated through enhanced expression and activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase.
Trial Registration
Clinical NCT00882401
PMCID: PMC4090117  PMID: 25006678
4.  Glucose Induces Protein Targeting to Glycogen in Hepatocytes by Fructose 2,6-Bisphosphate-Mediated Recruitment of MondoA to the Promoter 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2013;33(4):725-738.
In the liver, a high glucose concentration activates transcription of genes encoding glucose 6-phosphatase and enzymes for glycolysis and lipogenesis by elevation in phosphorylated intermediates and recruitment of the transcription factor ChREBP (carbohydrate response element binding protein) and its partner, Mlx, to gene promoters. A proposed function for this mechanism is intracellular phosphate homeostasis. In extrahepatic tissues, MondoA, the paralog of ChREBP, partners with Mlx in transcriptional induction by glucose. We tested for glucose induction of regulatory proteins of the glycogenic pathway in hepatocytes and identified the glycogen-targeting proteins, GL and PTG (protein targeting to glycogen), as being encoded by Mlx-dependent glucose-inducible genes. PTG induction by glucose was MondoA dependent but ChREBP independent and was enhanced by forced elevation of fructose 2,6-bisphosphate and by additional xylitol-derived metabolites. It was counteracted by selective depletion of fructose 2,6-bisphosphate with a bisphosphatase-active kinase-deficient variant of phosphofructokinase 2/fructosebisphosphatase 2, which prevented translocation of MondoA to the nucleus and recruitment to the PTG promoter. We identify a novel role for MondoA in the liver and demonstrate that elevated fructose 2,6-bisphosphate is essential for recruitment of MondoA to the PTG promoter. Phosphometabolite activation of MondoA and ChREBP and their recruitment to target genes is consistent with a mechanism for gene regulation to maintain intracellular phosphate homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3571345  PMID: 23207906
5.  A cohort study on the rate of progression of diabetic chronic kidney disease in different ethnic groups 
BMJ Open  2013;3(2):e001855.
To compare the rate of progression of diabetic chronic kidney disease in different ethnic groups.
Prospective longitudinal observational study.
All new patients attending a tertiary renal unit in east London with diabetic chronic kidney disease between 2000 and 2007 and followed up till 2009 were included. Patients presenting with acute end-stage kidney failure were excluded.
Main outcome measures
The primary outcome was annual decline in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in different ethnic groups. Secondary end points were the number of patients developing end-stage kidney failure and total mortality during the study period.
329 patients (age 60±11.9 years, 208 men) were studied comprising 149 south Asian, 105 White and 75 Black patients. Mean follow-up was 6.0±2.3, 5.0±2.7 and 5.6±2.4 years for White, Black and south Asian patients, respectively. South Asian patients were younger and had a higher baseline eGFR, but both systolic and diastolic blood pressures were higher in Black patients (p<0.05). Baseline proteinuria was highest for the south Asian group followed by the White and Black groups. Adjusted linear regression analysis showed that an annual decline in eGFR was not significantly different between the three groups. The numbers of patients developing end-stage kidney failure and total mortality were also not significantly different between the three groups. ACE or angiotensin receptor blockers use, and glycated haemoglobin were similar at baseline and throughout the study period.
We conclude that ethnicity is not an independent factor in the rate of progression renal failure in patients with diabetic chronic kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3586174  PMID: 23449744
6.  A Novel Mechanism for Regulating Hepatic Glycogen Synthesis Involving Serotonin and Cyclin-Dependent Kinase-5 
Diabetes  2011;61(1):49-60.
Hepatic autonomic nerves regulate postprandial hepatic glucose uptake, but the signaling pathways remain unknown. We tested the hypothesis that serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) exerts stimulatory and inhibitory effects on hepatic glucose disposal. Ligands of diverse 5-HT receptors were used to identify signaling pathway(s) regulating glucose metabolism in hepatocytes. 5-HT had stimulatory and inhibitory effects on glycogen synthesis in hepatocytes mediated by 5-HT1/2A and 5-HT2B receptors, respectively. Agonists of 5-HT1/2A receptors lowered blood glucose and increased hepatic glycogen after oral glucose loading and also stimulated glycogen synthesis in freshly isolated hepatocytes with greater efficacy than 5-HT. This effect was blocked by olanzapine, an antagonist of 5-HT1/2A receptors. It was mediated by activation of phosphorylase phosphatase, inactivation of glycogen phosphorylase, and activation of glycogen synthase. Unlike insulin action, it was not associated with stimulation of glycolysis and was counteracted by cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitors. A role for cdk5 was supported by adaptive changes in the coactivator protein p35 and by elevated glycogen synthesis during overexpression of p35/cdk5. These results support a novel mechanism for serotonin stimulation of hepatic glycogenesis involving cdk5. The opposing effects of serotonin, mediated by distinct 5-HT receptors, could explain why drugs targeting serotonin function can cause either diabetes or hypoglycemia in humans.
PMCID: PMC3237670  PMID: 22106156
7.  Proteinuria and hypoalbuminemia are risk factors for thromboembolic events in patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy: an observational study 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:107.
Patients with nephrotic syndrome are at an increased risk of thromboembolic events (TEs). However, this association has not been thoroughly investigated in adult patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy (IMN).
A retrospective analysis of all 101 consecutive adult patients with MN diagnosed at our centre during 1995 to 2008 was performed. Pertinent data including thromboembolic events and the risk factors for TEs were recorded.
The cohort was followed for 7.2 ± 3 years. Out of 78 patients with IMN, 15 (19.2%) had at least one TE. No TEs occurred six months after diagnosis. The incidence of TEs in the first 6 months of diagnosis was 7.69% (95%CI, 2.5-17.0) and all patients except one had venous TEs. At the time of diagnosis of MN, the patients with TEs had lower serum albumin (1.9 ± 0.5 vs. 2.4 ± 0.4 g/dl, TE vs. no TE; p < 0.01) and greater serum cholesterol (414 ± 124 vs. 317 ± 108 mg/dl, TE vs. no TE; p = 0.01) and 24-h proteinuria (10.7 ± 3 vs. 7.1 ± 4 g, TE vs. no TE; p < 0.01). Multivariate logistic regression adjusted for age, sex, cholesterol and creatinine revealed, an odds ratio of 0.8 (95% CI 0.7 – 0.96; p = 0.01) for every one g/dl increase in baseline serum albumin and, an odds ratio of 1.3 (95% CI 1.05-1.58; p = 0.01) for one gram increase in 24-h proteinuria, for TEs.
Our study finding confirms IMN as a prothrombotic state particularly in the first six months of diagnosis. Proteinuria, in addition to hypoalbuminemia, is a risk factor for TEs. These results have important implications for clinical care of patients with IMN, particularly with regards to initiation and duration of prophylactic anticoagulation.
PMCID: PMC3480900  PMID: 22963194
Membranous nephropathy; Thromboembolism; Proteinuria; Hypoalbuminemia
8.  Delayed Administration of Pyroglutamate Helix B Surface Peptide (pHBSP), a Novel Nonerythropoietic Analog of Erythropoietin, Attenuates Acute Kidney Injury 
Molecular Medicine  2012;18(1):719-727.
In preclinical studies, erythropoietin (EPO) reduces ischemia-reperfusion–associated tissue injury (for example, stroke, myocardial infarction, acute kidney injury, hemorrhagic shock and liver ischemia). It has been proposed that the erythropoietic effects of EPO are mediated by the classic EPO receptor homodimer, whereas the tissue-protective effects are mediated by a hetero-complex between the EPO receptor monomer and the β-common receptor (termed “tissue-protective receptor”). Here, we investigate the effects of a novel, selective-ligand of the tissue-protective receptor (pyroglutamate helix B surface peptide [pHBSP]) in a rodent model of acute kidney injury/dysfunction. Administration of pHBSP (10 μg/kg intraperitoneally [i.p.] 6 h into reperfusion) or EPO (1,000 IU/kg i.p. 4 h into reperfusion) to rats subjected to 30 min ischemia and 48 h reperfusion resulted in significant attenuation of renal and tubular dysfunction. Both pHBSP and EPO enhanced the phosphorylation of Akt (activation) and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (inhibition) in the rat kidney after ischemia-reperfusion, resulting in prevention of the activation of nuclear factor-κB (reduction in nuclear translocation of p65). Interestingly, the phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase was enhanced by EPO and, to a much lesser extent, by pHBSP, suggesting that the signaling pathways activated by EPO and pHBSP may not be identical.
PMCID: PMC3388125  PMID: 22415011
9.  Erythropoietin in the intensive care unit: beyond treatment of anemia 
Erythropoietin (EPO) is the major hormone stimulating the production and differentiation of red blood cells. EPO is used widely for treating anemia of critical illness or anemia induced by chemotherapy. EPO at pharmacological doses is used in this setting to raise hemoglobin levels (by preventing the apoptosis of erythroid progenitor cells) and is designed to reduce patient exposure to allogenic blood through transfusions. Stroke, heart failure, and acute kidney injury are a frequently encountered clinical problem. Unfortunately, in the intensive care unit advances in supportive interventions have done little to reduce the high mortality associated with these conditions. Tissue protection with EPO at high, nonpharmacological doses after injury has been found in the brain, heart, and kidney of several animal models. It is now well known that EPO has anti-apoptotic effects in cells other than erythroid progenitor cells, which is considered to be independent of EPOs erythropoietic activities. This review article summarizes what is known in preclinical models of critical illness and discusses why this does not correlate with randomized, controlled clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC3224459  PMID: 21943500
10.  Nonresolving Inflammation in gp91phox-/- Mice, a Model of Human Chronic Granulomatous Disease, Has Lower Adenosine and Cyclic Adenosine 5′-Monophoshate 
In chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) there is failure to generate reactive oxygen metabolites resulting in recurrent infections and persistent inflammatory events. As responses to sterile stimuli in murine models of CGD also result in non-resolving inflammation, we investigated whether defects in endogenous counter-regulatory mechanisms and/or pro-resolution pathways contribute to the aetiology of CGD. To this end we carried out a series of experiments finding, in the first instance that adenosine and cAMP, which dampen innate immune-mediated responses, show a biphasic profile in resolving peritonitis; peaking at onset, waning as inflammation progresses and rising again at resolution. We also found elevations in adenosine and cAMP in resolving human peritonitis. In gp91phox-/- mice, an experimental model of CGD, levels of adenosine and cAMP were significantly lower at onset and again at resolution. Corroborating the finding of others, we show that adenosine, signalling through its A2A receptor and therefore elevating cAMP is not only anti-inflammatory but, importantly, it does not impair pro-resolution pathways, properties typical of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Conversely, antagonising the A2A receptor worsens acute inflammation and prolongs resolution. Taking this further, activating the A2A receptor in gp91phox-/- mice was dramatically anti-inflammatory regardless of the phase of the inflammatory response A2A agonists were administered i.e. onset or resolution demonstrating wide and robust pharmacological flexibility that is unlikely to subvert pro-resolution pathways. Therefore, we describe the biphasic profile of adenosine and cAMP throughout the time course of acute inflammation that is dysregulated in CGD.
PMCID: PMC2692062  PMID: 19234224
Lipid mediators; Cytokines; Human peritonitis
11.  Novel biphasic role for lymphocytes revealed during resolving inflammation 
Blood  2008;111(8):4184-4192.
Acute inflammation is traditionally described as the influx of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) followed by monocyte-derived macrophages, leading to resolution. This is a classic view, and despite subpopulations of lymphocytes possessing innate immune-regulatory properties, seldom is their role in acute inflammation and its resolution discussed. To redress this we show, using lymphocyte-deficient RAG1−/− mice, that peritoneal T/B lymphocytes control PMN trafficking by regulating cytokine synthesis. Once inflammation ensues in normal mice, lymphocytes disappear in response to DP1 receptor activation by prostaglandin D2. However, upon resolution, lymphocytes repopulate the cavity comprising B1, natural killer (NK), γ/δ T, CD4+/CD25+, and B2 cells. Repopulating lymphocytes are dispensable for resolution, as inflammation in RAG1−/− and wild-type mice resolve uniformly. However, repopulating lymphocytes are critical for modulating responses to superinfection. Thus, in chronic granulomatous disease using gp91phox−/− mice, not only is resolution delayed compared with wild-type, but there is a failure of lymphocyte re-appearance predisposing to exaggerated immune responses upon secondary challenge that is rescued by resolution-phase lymphocytes. In conclusion, as lymphocyte repopulation is also evident in human peritonitis, we hereby describe a transition in T/B cells from acute inflammation to resolution, with a central role in modulating the severity of early onset and orchestrating responses to secondary infection.
PMCID: PMC2602590  PMID: 18218853
12.  The role of salt intake and salt sensitivity in the management of hypertension in South Asian people with chronic kidney disease: a randomised controlled trial 
Heart  2013;99(17):1256-1260.
The effectiveness of salt restriction to lower blood pressure (BP) in Bangladeshi patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is uncertain.
To test the hypothesis that a tailored intervention intended to reduce salt intake in addition to standard care will achieve a greater reduction in BP in UK Bangladeshi patients with CKD than standard care alone.
A randomised parallel-group controlled trial conducted over a 6 month period.
A tertiary renal unit based in acute care hospital in East London.
56 adult participants of Bangladeshi origin with CKD and BP >130/80 mm Hg or on antihypertensive medication.
Participants were randomly allocated to receive a tailored low-salt diet or the standard low-salt advice. BP medication, physical activity and weight were monitored.
Main outcome measures
The primary outcome was change in ambulatory BP. Adherence to dietary advice was assessed by measurement of 24 h urinary salt excretion.
Of 56 participants randomised, six withdrew at the start of the study. During the study, one intervention group participant died, one control group participant moved to Bangladesh. Data were available for the primary endpoint on 48 participants. Compared with control group the intervention urinary sodium excretion fell from 260 mmol/d to 103 mmol/d (−131 to −76, p<0.001) at 6 months and resulted in mean (95% CI) falls in 24 h systolic/diastolic BP of −8 mm Hg (−11 to −5)/2 (−4 to −2) both p<0.001.
A tailored intervention can achieve moderate salt restriction in patients with CKD, resulting in clinically meaningful falls in BP independent of hypertensive medication.
Trial Registration NCT00702312.
PMCID: PMC3756453  PMID: 23766446
Renal Disease

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