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1.  Role of the Intrarenal Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System in Chronic Kidney Disease 
American Journal of Nephrology  2010;31(6):541-550.
The existence of local or tissue-based renin-angiotensin-aldosterone systems (RAAS) is well documented and has been implicated as a key player in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular and renal diseases. The kidney contains all elements of the RAAS, and intrarenal formation of angiotensin II not only controls glomerular hemodynamics and tubule sodium transport, but also activates a number of inflammatory and fibrotic pathways. Experimental and clinical studies have shown that the intrarenal RAAS is activated early in diabetic nephropathy, the leading cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Although angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers decrease the rate of decline in kidney function in patients with diabetic and non-diabetic nephropathy, many patients still progress to end-stage renal disease or die from cardiovascular events. There is still a clear need for additional strategies to block the RAAS more effectively to reduce progression of CKD. The focus of this paper is to review the importance of the intrarenal RAAS in CKD and recent findings in renin-angiotensin biology pertinent to the kidney. We also discuss additional strategies to inhibit the RAAS more effectively and the potential impact of direct renin inhibition on the prevention and management of CKD.
PMCID: PMC3202956  PMID: 20484892
Angiotensin; Direct renin inhibition; Aliskiren; Kidney disease
2.  Prevention and Treatment of Acute Kidney Injury in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery: A Systematic Review 
American Journal of Nephrology  2010;31(5):408-418.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) is common in patients undergoing cardiac surgery and is associated with a high rate of death, long-term sequelae and healthcare costs. We conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials for strategies to prevent or treat AKI in cardiac surgery.
We screened Medline, Scopus, Cochrane Renal Library, and Google Scholar for randomized controlled trails in cardiac surgery for prevention or treatment of AKI in adults.
We identified 70 studies that contained a total of 5,554 participants published until November 2008. Most studies were small in sample size, were single-center, focused on preventive strategies, and displayed wide variation in AKI definitions. Only 26% were assessed to be of high quality according to the Jadad criteria. The types of strategies with possible protective efficacy were dopaminergic agents, vasodilators, anti-inflammatory agents, and pump/perfusion strategies. When analyzed separately, dopamine and N-acetylcysteine did not reduce the risk for AKI.
This summary of all the literature on prevention and treatment strategies for AKI in cardiac surgery highlights the need for better information. The results advocate large, good-quality, multicenter studies to determine whether promising interventions reliably reduce rates of acute renal replacement therapy and mortality in the cardiac surgery setting.
PMCID: PMC2883845  PMID: 20375494
Acute kidney injury, prevention; Cardiac surgery; Healthcare costs
3.  Interaction of Aldosterone and Extracellular Volume in the Pathogenesis of Obesity-Associated Kidney Disease: A Narrative Review 
American Journal of Nephrology  2009;30(2):140-146.
Obesity and obesity-associated kidney injuries have played an important role in the rising prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The link between obesity and kidney disease begins with obesity's well-known associations with diabetes and hypertension, the two leading etiologies of CKD. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that elevated aldosterone levels and expanded extracellular volume are key components of obesity-induced renal disease via aldosterone's non-epithelial effects on the kidney. Highlighting these blood pressure- and diabetes-independent mechanisms of kidney injury in obesity allows an exploration of whether mineralocorticoid receptor blockade, coupled with weight loss and salt restriction, is an optimal treatment for overweight CKD patients.
PMCID: PMC2909635  PMID: 19299892
Aldosterone; Extracellular volume; Obesity; Chronic kidney disease
4.  WNK Kinases, Renal Ion Transport and Hypertension 
American Journal of Nephrology  2008;28(5):860-870.
Two members of a recently discovered family of protein kinases are the cause of an inherited disease known as pseudohypoaldosteronism type II (PHAII). These patients exhibit arterial hypertension together with hyperkalemia and metabolic acidosis. This is a mirror image of Gitelman disease that is due to inactivating mutations of the SLC12A3 gene that encodes the thiazide-sensitive Na+: Cl− cotransporter. The uncovered genes causing PHAII encode for serine/threonine kinases known as WNK1 and WNK4. Physiological and biochemical studies have revealed that WNK1 and WNK4 modulate the activity of several transport pathways of the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron, thus increasing our understanding of how diverse renal ion transport proteins are coordinated to regulate normal blood pressure levels. Observations discussed in the present work place WNK1 and WNK4 as genes involved in the genesis of essential hypertension and as potential targets for the development of antihypertensive drugs.
PMCID: PMC2820349  PMID: 18547946
Diuretics; Distal convoluted tubule; Salt transport; Potassium excretion; Phosphorylation
5.  The Role of Anemia Management in Improving Outcomes for African-Americans with Chronic Kidney Disease 
American Journal of Nephrology  2008;28(5):732-743.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious threat to African-American public health. In this population CKD progresses to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) at quadruple the rate in Caucasians. Factors fueling progression to ESRD include diabetes and hypertension, which show high prevalences and accelerated renal damage in African- Americans, as well as possible nutritional, socioeconomic, and genetic factors. Anemia, a common and deleterious complication of CKD, is more prevalent and severe in African-American than Caucasian patients at each stage of the disease. Proactive management of diabetes, hypertension, anemia, and other complications throughout the course of CKD can prevent or delay disease progression and alleviate the burden of ESRD for the African-American community. Currently, African-Americans with CKD are less likely than Caucasian patients to receive anemia treatment before and after the onset of dialysis. Although African-Americans often require higher doses of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, this may result from late treatment initiation, lower hemoglobin levels, or the presence of comorbidities such as diabetes and inflammation, although racial differences in response cannot be excluded. This review explores racial-specific challenges and potential solutions in renal anemia management to improve outcomes in African-American patients.
PMCID: PMC2820347  PMID: 18434712
Anemia management; Diabetes mellitus; Hypertension; Chronic kidney disease; Dialysis
6.  Mechanisms of Homocysteine-Induced Glomerular Injury and Sclerosis 
American Journal of Nephrology  2007;28(2):254-264.
Hyperhomocysteinemia (hHcys) has been recognized as a critical risk or pathogenic factor in the progression of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and in the development of cardiovascular complications related to ESRD. Recently, evidence is accumulating that hHcys may directly act on glomerular cells to induce glomerular dysfunction and consequent glomerular sclerosis, leading to ESRD. In this review, we summarize recent findings that reveal the contribution of homocysteine as a pathogenic factor to the development of glomerular sclerosis or ESRD. In addition, we discuss several important mechanisms mediating the pathogenic action of homocysteine in the glomeruli or in the kidney, such as lo- cal oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress, homocysteinylation, and hypomethylation. Understanding these mechanisms may help design new approaches to develop therapeutic strategies for treatment of hHcys-associated end-organ damage and for prevention of deterioration of kidney function and ultimate ESRD in patients with hypertension and diabetes mellitus or even in aged people with hHcys.
PMCID: PMC2820346  PMID: 17989498
Hyperhomocysteinemia; Glomerulus; Sulfur amino acids; Oxidative stress; Mesangial cells; Podocytes; Proteinuria
7.  Asymmetrical Dimethylarginine in Renal Disease: Limits of Variation or Variation Limits? 
American Journal of Nephrology  2007;28(2):224-237.
Asymmetrical dimethylarginine (ADMA), an endogenous inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase, is increasingly recognized as a putative biomarker in cardiovascular and renal disease. Elevated plasma levels of ADMA are the consequence of increased synthesis, reduced renal clearance or reduced enzymatic degradation. Based upon the metabolic fate the highest plasma concentrations of ADMA have been reported in patients with renal failure in whom this molecule accumulates. However, the range of published ADMA levels in patients with chronic renal failure as well as in patients with end-stage renal failure undergoing maintenance hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or kidney transplant recipients is widely scattered and overlaps with the levels reported in healthy individuals. This wide distribution can in part be explained by different bioanalytical techniques and the lack of standardization of such assays. This review summarizes available literature on ADMA in patients with kidney disease and stresses the urgent need for a consensus regarding reference values for different analytical methods in order to appreciate the prognostic significance of elevated ADMA levels. At present, one cannot advocate this molecule for risk assessment or individual patient prognosis in the clinical work-up of patients with renal impairment.
PMCID: PMC2820345  PMID: 17960061
Asymmetrical dimethylarginine; Symmetric dimethylarginine

Results 1-7 (7)