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1.  Validation of the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-Short Form: a cross-sectional study of a dialysis-targeted health measure in Singapore 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:36.
Background
In Singapore, the prevalence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and the number of people on dialysis is increasing. The impact of ESRD on patient quality of life has been recognized as an important outcome measure. The Kidney Disease Quality Of Life-Short Form (KDQOL-SF™) has been validated and is widely used as a measure of quality of life in dialysis patients in many countries, but not in Singapore. We aimed to determine the reliability and validity of the KDQOL-SF™ for haemodialysis patients in Singapore.
Methods
From December 2006 through January 2007, this cross-sectional study gathered data on patients ≥21 years old, who were undergoing haemodialysis at National Kidney Foundation in Singapore. We used exploratory factor analysis to determine construct validity of the eight KDQOL-SF™ sub-scales, Cronbach's alpha coefficient to determine internal consistency reliability, correlation of the overall health rating with kidney disease-targeted scales to confirm validity, and correlation of the eight sub-scales with age, income and education to determine convergent and divergent validity.
Results
Of 1980 haemodialysis patients, 1180 (59%) completed the KDQOL-SF™. Full information was available for 980 participants, with a mean age of 56 years. The sample was representative of the total dialysis population in Singapore, except Indian ethnicity that was over-represented. The instrument designers' proposed eight sub-scales were confirmed, which together accounted for 68.4% of the variance. All sub-scales had a Cronbach's α above the recommended minimum value of 0.7 to indicate good reliability (range: 0.72 to 0.95), except for Social function (0.66). Correlation of items within subscales was higher than correlation of items outside subscales in 90% of the cases. The overall health rating positively correlated with kidney disease-targeted scales, confirming validity. General health subscales were found to have significant associations with age, income and education, confirming convergent and divergent validity.
Conclusions
The psychometric properties of the KDQOL-SF™ resulting from this first-time administration of the instrument support the validity and reliability of the KDQOL-SF™ as a measure of quality of life of haemodialysis patients in Singapore. It is, however, necessary to determine the test-retest reliability of the KDQOL-SF™ among the haemodialysis population of Singapore.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-36
PMCID: PMC3014913  PMID: 21172008
2.  Pre-dialysis patients' perceived autonomy, self-esteem and labor participation: associations with illness perceptions and treatment perceptions. A cross-sectional study 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:35.
Background
Compared to healthy people, patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) participate less in paid jobs and social activities. The aim of the study was to examine a) the perceived autonomy, self-esteem and labor participation of patients in the pre-dialysis phase, b) pre-dialysis patients' illness perceptions and treatment perceptions, and c) the association of these perceptions with autonomy, self-esteem and labor participation.
Methods
Patients (N = 109) completed questionnaires at home. Data were analysed using bivariate and multivariate analyses.
Results
The results showed that the average autonomy levels were not very high, but the average level of self-esteem was rather high, and that drop out of the labor market already occurs during the pre-dialysis phase. Positive illness and treatment beliefs were associated with higher autonomy and self-esteem levels, but not with employment. Multiple regression analyses revealed that illness and treatment perceptions explained a substantial amount of variance in autonomy (17%) and self-esteem (26%). The perception of less treatment disruption was an important predictor.
Conclusions
Patient education on possibilities to combine CKD and its treatment with activities, including paid work, might stimulate positive (realistic) beliefs and prevent or challenge negative beliefs. Interventions focusing on these aspects may assist patients to adjust to CKD, and ultimately prevent unnecessary drop out of the labor market.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-35
PMCID: PMC3019121  PMID: 21138597
3.  Lipoprotein lipase responds similarly to tinzaparin as to conventional heparin during hemodialysis 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:33.
Background
Low molecular weight (LMW) heparins are used for anticoagulation during hemodialysis (HD). Studies in animals have shown that LMW-heparins release lipoprotein lipase (LPL) as efficiently as unfractionated (UF) heparin, but are less able to retard hepatic uptake of the lipase. This raises a concern that the LPL system may become exhausted by LMW-heparin in patients on HD. We have explored this in the setting of clinical HD.
Methods
Twenty patients on chronic hemodialysis were switched from a primed infusion of UF-heparin to a single bolus of tinzaparin. There were long term follow up of variables for the estimation of dialysis efficacy as well as of the LPL release during dialysis and the subsequent impact on the triglycerides.
Results
The LPL activity in blood was higher on tinzaparin at 40 but lower at 180 minutes during HD. These values did not change during the 6 month study period. There were significant correlations between the LPL activities in individual patients at the beginning and end of the 6 month study period and between the activities on UF-heparin and on tinzaparin, indicating that tissue LPL was not being exhausted. Triglycerides were higher during the HD-session with tinzaparin than UF-heparin. The plasma lipid/lipoprotein levels did not change during the 6 month study period, nor during a 2-year follow up after the switch from UF-heparin to tinzaparin. Urea reduction rate and Kt/V were reduced by 4 and 7% after 6 months with tinzaparin.
Conclusion
Our data demonstrate that repeated HD with UF-heparin or tinzaparin does not exhaust the LPL-system.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-33
PMCID: PMC3004894  PMID: 21129229
4.  Complement in patients receiving maintenance hemodialysis: functional screening and quantitative analysis 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:34.
Background
The complement system is vital for innate immunity and is implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases and the mechanism of host defense. Complement deficiencies occasionally cause life-threatening diseases. In hemodialysis (HD) patients, profiles on complement functional activity and deficiency are still obscure. The objectives of the present study were to measure the functional complement activities of the classical pathway (CP), lectin pathway (LP) and alternative pathway (AP) using a novel method and consequently to elucidate the rates of deficiencies among HD patients.
Methods
In the present study, 244 HD patients at one dialysis center and 204 healthy controls were enrolled. Functional complement activities were measured simultaneously using the Wielisa®-kit. The combination of the results of these three pathway activities allows us to speculate which candidate complement is deficient; subsequently, the deficient complement was determined.
Results
All three functional complement activities were significantly higher in the HD patients than in the control group (P < 0.01 for all cases). After identifying candidates in both groups with complement deficiencies using the Wielisa®-kit, 16 sera (8.8%) with mannose-binding lectin (MBL) deficiency, 1 serum (0.4%) with C4 deficiency, 1 serum (0.4%) with C9 deficiency, and 1 serum (0.4%) with B deficiency were observed in the HD group, and 18 sera (8.8%) with MBL deficiency and 1 serum (0.5%) with B deficiency were observed in the control group. There were no significant differences in the 5-year mortality rate between each complement-deficient group and the complement-sufficient group among the HD patients.
Conclusion
This is the first report that profiles complement deficiencies by simultaneous measurement of functional activities of the three complement pathways in HD patients. Hemodialysis patients frequently suffer from infections or malignancies, but functional complement deficiencies do not confer additional risk of mortality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-34
PMCID: PMC3004895  PMID: 21134272
5.  The hemodynamic tolerability and feasibility of sustained low efficiency dialysis in the management of critically ill patients with acute kidney injury 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:32.
Background
Minimization of hemodynamic instability during renal replacement therapy (RRT) in patients with acute kidney injury (AKI) is often challenging. We examined the relative hemodynamic tolerability of sustained low efficiency dialysis (SLED) and continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) in critically ill patients with AKI. We also compared the feasibility of SLED administration with that of CRRT and intermittent hemodialysis (IHD).
Methods
This cohort study encompassed four critical care units within a single university-affiliated medical centre. 77 consecutive critically ill patients with AKI who were treated with CRRT (n = 30), SLED (n = 13) or IHD (n = 34) and completed at least two RRT sessions were included in the study. Overall, 223 RRT sessions were analyzed. Hemodynamic instability during a given session was defined as the composite of a > 20% reduction in mean arterial pressure or any escalation in pressor requirements. Treatment feasibility was evaluated based on the fraction of the prescribed therapy time that was delivered. An interrupted session was designated if < 90% of the prescribed time was administered. Generalized estimating equations were used to compare the hemodynamic tolerability of SLED vs CRRT while accounting for within-patient clustering of repeated sessions and key confounders.
Results
Hemodynamic instability occurred during 22 (56.4%) SLED and 43 (50.0%) CRRT sessions (p = 0.51). In a multivariable analysis that accounted for clustering of multiple sessions within the same patient, the odds ratio for hemodynamic instability with SLED was 1.20 (95% CI 0.58-2.47), as compared to CRRT. Session interruption occurred in 16 (16.3), 30 (34.9) and 11 (28.2) of IHD, CRRT and SLED therapies, respectively.
Conclusions
In critically ill patients with AKI, the administration of SLED is feasible and provides comparable hemodynamic control to CRRT.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-32
PMCID: PMC3002345  PMID: 21106112
6.  Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP)-7 expression is decreased in human hypertensive nephrosclerosis 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:31.
Background
Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP)-7 is protective in different animal models of acute and chronic kidney disease. Its role in human kidneys, and in particular hypertensive nephrosclerosis, has thus far not been described.
Methods
BMP-7 mRNA was quantified using real-time PCR and localised by immunostaining in tissue samples from normal and nephrosclerotic human kidneys. The impact of angiotensin (AT)-II and the AT-II receptor antagonist telmisartan on BMP-7 mRNA levels and phosphorylated Smad 1/5/8 (pSmad 1/5/8) expression was quantified in proximal tubular cells (HK-2). Functional characteristics of BMP-7 were evaluated by testing its influence on TGF-β induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), expression of TGF-β receptor type I (TGF-βRI) and phosphorylated Smad 2 (pSmad 2) as well as on TNF-α induced apoptosis of proximal tubular cells.
Results
BMP-7 was predominantly found in the epithelia of the distal tubule and the collecting duct and was less abundant in proximal tubular cells. In sclerotic kidneys, BMP-7 was significantly decreased as demonstrated by real-time PCR and immunostaining. AT-II stimulation in HK-2 cells led to a significant decrease of BMP-7 and pSmad 1/5/8, which was partially ameliorated upon co-incubation with telmisartan. Only high concentrations of BMP-7 (100 ng/ml) were able to reverse TNF-α-induced apoptosis and TGF-β-induced EMT in human proximal tubule cells possibly due to a decreased expression of TGF-βRI. In addition, BMP-7 was able to reverse TGF-β-induced phosphorylation of Smad 2.
Conclusions
The findings suggest a protective role for BMP-7 by counteracting the TGF-β and TNF-α-induced negative effects. The reduced expression of BMP-7 in patients with hypertensive nephrosclerosis may imply loss of protection and regenerative potential necessary to counter the disease.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-31
PMCID: PMC3002344  PMID: 21080950
7.  Risk factors for acute kidney injury following orthotopic liver transplantation: the impact of changes in renal function while patients await transplantation 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:30.
Background
Acute kidney injury (AKI) occurs commonly in the setting of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). To date, the correlation between AKI post-OLT and pre-operative changes in renal function has not been rigorously examined.
Methods
To determine the impact of pre-OLT changes in renal function on AKI post-OLT, as well as to identify risk factors for AKI, we analyzed the prospectively maintained NIDDK Liver Transplantation Database, which includes patients who received their first OLT between April 15, 1990, and June 30, 1994. We used the AKI Network definition of AKI.
Results
Surprisingly, univariate analysis revealed that worsening renal function while awaiting OLT was protective to the development of AKI post-OLT. Independent predictors of AKI were increased body mass index, increased Childs-Pugh-Turcott score, decreased urine output during cross-clamp, improved renal function while awaiting OLT, increased post-operative stroke volume, non-Caucasian race, and post-operative use of tacrolimus.
Conclusions
The correlation between improving renal function pre-OLT and AKI post-OLT may represent true protection (via ischemic pre-conditioning) or, alternatively, a masking of milder forms of AKI (via improved renal perfusion through correction of the cirrhotic milieu). These results highlight the complex interaction between liver and kidney disease, and suggest that not only the etiology but also the course of pre-OLT renal dysfunction may be a critical determinant of renal function post-OLT.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-30
PMCID: PMC2991287  PMID: 21059264
8.  Urinary proteome analysis enables assessment of renoprotective treatment in type 2 diabetic patients with microalbuminuria 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:29.
Background
Previously the angiotensin II receptor blocker Irbesartan has been demonstrated to reduce the risk for progression from microalbuminuria to macroalbuminuria in type 2 diabetic patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of treatment with Irbesartan in type 2 diabetic patients with microalbuminuria on the urinary proteome.
Methods
High-resolution capillary-electrophoresis coupled to mass-spectrometry (CE-MS) was used to profile the low-molecular-weight proteome in urine of a subgroup of patients from a two year randomized irbesartan versus placebo therapy trial, which included hypertensive type 2 diabetic patients with microalbuminuria on ongoing antihypertensive medication (IRMA2-substudy).
Results
We demonstrate that the therapy with 300 mg Irbesartan daily over a period of two years results in significant changes of the urinary proteome. Both, a classifier developed previously that consists of urinary peptides indicative of chronic kidney disease, as well as several individual peptides changed significantly after treatment. These changes were not observed in the placebo-treated individuals. Most prominent are changes of urinary collagen fragments associated with progression of diabetic nephropathy, indicating normalization in urinary peptides.
Conclusion
CE-MS analysis of urine enabled identification of peptides as potential surrogate markers for renoprotection in microalbuminuric type 2 diabetic patients, which show persistent improvement after longterm treatment with Irbesartan. The results suggest that a major benefit of treatment by Irbesartan may be improvement of collagen turnover, reduction of fibrosis. They further suggest that urinary proteome analysis could be utilized to assess potential benefit of therapeutic intervention, providing statistically significant results even on a small population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-29
PMCID: PMC2988775  PMID: 21040538
9.  Increased renal sodium absorption by inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis during fasting in healthy man. A possible role of the epithelial sodium channels 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:28.
Background
Treatment with prostaglandin inhibitors can reduce renal function and impair renal water and sodium excretion. We tested the hypotheses that a reduction in prostaglandin synthesis by ibuprofen treatment during fasting decreased renal water and sodium excretion by increased absorption of water and sodium via the aquaporin2 water channels and the epithelial sodium channels.
Methods
The effect of ibuprofen, 600 mg thrice daily, was measured during fasting in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded crossover study of 17 healthy humans. The subjects received a standardized diet on day 1, fasted at day 2, and received an IV infusion of 3% NaCl on day 3. The effect variables were urinary excretions of aquaporin2 (u-AQP2), the beta-fraction of the epithelial sodium channel (u-ENaCbeta), cyclic-AMP (u-cAMP), prostaglandin E2 (u-PGE2). Free water clearance (CH2O), fractional excretion of sodium (FENa), and plasma concentrations of vasopressin, angiotensin II, aldosterone, atrial-, and brain natriuretic peptide.
Results
Ibuprofen decreased u-AQP2, u-PGE2, and FENa at all parts of the study. During the same time, ibuprofen significantly increased u-ENaCbeta. Ibuprofen did not change the response in p-AVP, u-c-AMP, urinary output, and free water clearance during any of these periods. Atrial-and brain natriuretic peptide were higher.
Conclusion
During inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis, urinary sodium excretion decreased in parallel with an increase in sodium absorption and increase in u-ENaCbeta. U-AQP2 decreased indicating that water transport via AQP2 fell. The vasopressin-c-AMP-axis did not mediate this effect, but it may be a consequence of the changes in the natriuretic peptide system and/or the angiotensin-aldosterone system
Trial Registration
Clinical Trials Identifier: NCT00281762
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-28
PMCID: PMC2988774  PMID: 21029429
10.  Anemia and chronic kidney disease are potential risk factors for mortality in stroke patients: a historic cohort study 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:27.
Background
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated to a higher stroke risk. Anemia is a common consequence of CKD, and is also a possible risk factor for cerebrovascular diseases. The purpose of this study was to examine if anemia and CKD are independent risk factors for mortality after stroke.
Methods
This historic cohort study was based on a stroke registry and included patients treated for a first clinical stroke in the stroke unit of one academic hospital over a three-year period. Mortality predictors comprised demographic characteristics, CKD, glomerular filtration rate (GFR), anemia and other stroke risk factors. GFR was estimated by means of the simplified Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula. Renal function was assessed according to the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (K/DOQI)-CKD classification in five groups. A value of hemoglobin < 120 g/L in women and < 130 g/L in men on admission defined anemia. Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox models were used to describe and analyze one-year survival.
Results
Among 890 adult stroke patients, the mean (Standard Deviation) calculated GFR was 64.3 (17.8) ml/min/1.73 m2 and 17% had anemia. Eighty-two (10%) patients died during the first year after discharge. Among those, 50 (61%) had K/DOQI CKD stages 3 to 5 and 32 (39%) stages 1 or 2 (p < 0.001). Anemia was associated with an increased risk of death one year after discharge (p < 0.001). After adjustment for other factors, a higher hemoglobin level was independently associated with decreased mortality one year after discharge [hazard ratio (95% CI) 0.98 (0.97-1.00)].
Conclusions
Both CKD and anemia are frequent among stroke patients and are potential risk factors for decreased one-year survival. The inclusion of patients with a first-ever clinical stroke only and the determination of anemia based on one single measure, on admission, constitute limitations to the external validity. We should investigate if an early detection and management of both CKD and anemia could improve survival in stroke patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-27
PMCID: PMC2973927  PMID: 20950484
11.  Abnormal function of the vasopressin-cyclic-AMP-aquaporin2 axis during urine concentrating and diluting in patients with reduced renal function. A case control study 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:26.
Background
The kidneys ability to concentrate and dilute urine is deteriorated during progressive renal insufficiency. We wanted to test the hypothesis that these phenomena could be attributed to an abnormal function of the principal cells in the distal part of the nephron.
Methods
Healthy control subjects and patients with chronic kidney diseases were studied. Group 1 comprised healthy subjects, n = 10. Groups 2-4 comprised patients with chronic kidney disease (Group 2, n = 14, e-GFR ? 90 m1/min; Group 3, n = 11, 60 m1/min ? e-GFR < 90 ml/min; and Group 4, n = 16, 15 ml/min ? e-GFR < 60 ml/min). The subjects collected urine during 24 hours. A urine concentrating test was done by thirsting during the following 12 hours. Thereafter, a urine diluting test was performed with a water load of 20 ml/kg body weight. The effect variables were urinary excretions of aquaporin2 (u-AQP2), cyclic-AMP (u-c-AMP), urine volume (UV), free water clearance (CH2O), urine osmolarity (u-Osm), and plasma arginine vasopressin (p-AVP).
Results
After fluid deprivation, u-Osm increased. In all groups, UV and CH2O decreased and u-AQP2 and u-c-AMP increased in Groups 1 and 2, but were unchanged in Group 3 and 4. P-AVP was significantly higher in Group 4 than in the other groups. During urine diluting, UV and CH2O reached significantly higher levels in Groups 1-3 than Group 4. Both before and after water loading, u-AQP2 and p-AVP were significantly higher and u-c-AMP was significantly lower in Group 4 than the other groups. Estimated-GFR was correlated negatively to p-AVP and positively to u-c-AMP.
Conclusions
Patients with moderately severe chronic kidney disease have a reduced renal concentrating and diluting capacity compared to both patients with milder chronic kidney disease and healthy control subjects. These phenomena can be attributed, at least partly, to an abnormally decreased response in the AVP-c-AMP-AQP2 axis.
ClinicalTrials.Gov Identifier: NCT00313430
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-26
PMCID: PMC2965705  PMID: 20923561
12.  Rationale and design of the balANZ trial: A randomised controlled trial of low GDP, neutral pH versus standard peritoneal dialysis solution for the preservation of residual renal function 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:25.
Background
The main hypothesis of this study is that neutral pH, low glucose degradation product (GDP) peritoneal dialysis (PD) fluid better preserves residual renal function in PD patients over time compared with conventional dialysate.
Methods/Design
Inclusion criteria are adult PD patients (CAPD or APD) aged 18-81 years whose first dialysis was within 90 days prior to or following enrolment and who have a residual GFR ≥ 5 ml/min/1.73 m2, a urine output ≥ 400 ml/day and an ability to understand the nature and requirements of this trial. Pregnant or lactating patients or individuals with an active infection at the time of enrolment, a contra-indication to PD or participation in any other clinical trial where an intervention is designed to moderate rate of change of residual renal function are excluded. Patients will be randomized 1:1 to receive either neutral pH, low GDP dialysis solution (Balance®) or conventional dialysis solution (Stay.safe®) for a period of 2 years. During this 2 year study period, urinary urea and clearance measurements will be performed at 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months. The primary outcome measure will be the slope of residual renal function decline, adjusted for centre and presence of diabetic nephropathy. Secondary outcome measures will include time from initiation of peritoneal dialysis to anuria, peritoneal small solute clearance, peritoneal transport status, peritoneal ultrafiltration, technique survival, patient survival, peritonitis rates and adverse events. A total of 185 patients has been recruited into the trial.
Discussion
This investigator-initiated study has been designed to provide evidence to help nephrologists determine the optimal dialysis solution for preserving residual renal function in PD patients.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number: ACTRN12606000044527
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-25
PMCID: PMC2954914  PMID: 20843375
13.  Study Protocol: A Pilot Study to Determine the Safety and Efficacy of Induction-Therapy, De Novo MPA and Delayed mTOR-Inhibition in Liver Transplant Recipients with Impaired Renal Function. PATRON-Study 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:24.
Background
Patients undergoing liver transplantation with preexisting renal dysfunction are prone to further renal impairment with the early postoperative use of Calcineurin-inhibitors. However, there is only little scientific evidence for the safety and efficacy of de novo CNI free "bottom-up" regimens in patients with impaired renal function undergoing liver transplantation. This is a single-center study pilot-study (PATRON07) investigating safety and efficacy of CNI-free, "bottom-up" immunosuppressive (IS) strategy in patients undergoing liver transplantation (LT) with renal impairment prior to LT.
Methods/Design
Patients older than 18 years with renal impairment at the time of liver transplantation eGFR < 50 ml/min and/or serum creatinine levels > 1.5 mg/dL will be included. Patients in will receive a CNI-free combination therapy (basiliximab, MMF, steroids and delayed Sirolimus). Primary endpoint is the incidence of steroid resistant acute rejection within the first 30 days after LT. The study is designed as prospective two-step trial requiring a maximum of 29 patients. In the first step, 9 patients will be included. If 8 or more patients show no signs of biopsy proven steroid resistant rejection, additional 20 patients will be included. If in the second step a total of 27 or more patients reach the primary endpoint the regimen is regarded to be safe and efficient.
Discussion
If a CNI-free-"bottom-up" IS strategy is safe and effective, this may be an innovative concept in contrast to classic top-down strategies that could improve the patient short and long-time renal function as well as overall complications and survival after LT. The results of PATRON07 may be the basis for a large multicenter RCT investigating the new "bottom-up" immunosuppressive strategy in patients with poor renal function prior to LT.
http://www.clinicaltrials.gov-identifier: NCT00604357
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-24
PMCID: PMC2945344  PMID: 20840760
14.  Cyst formation in the PKD2 (1-703) transgenic rat precedes deregulation of proliferation-related pathways 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:23.
Background
Polycystic Kidney Disease is characterized by the formation of large fluid-filled cysts that eventually destroy the renal parenchyma leading to end-stage renal failure. Although remarkable progress has been made in understanding the pathologic mechanism of the disease, the precise orchestration of the early events leading to cyst formation is still unclear. Abnormal cellular proliferation was traditionally considered to be one of the primary irregularities leading to cyst initiation and growth. Consequently, many therapeutic interventions have focused on targeting this abnormal proliferation, and some have even progressed to clinical trials. However, the role of proliferation in cyst development was primarily examined at stages where cysts are already visible in the kidneys and therefore at later stages of disease development.
Methods
In this study we focused on the cystic phenotype since birth in an attempt to clarify the temporal contribution of cellular proliferation in cyst development. Using a PKD2 transgenic rat model (PKD2 (1-703)) of different ages (0-60 days after birth) we performed gene expression profiling and phenotype analysis by measuring various kidney parameters.
Results
Phenotype analysis demonstrated that renal cysts appear immediately after birth in the PKD2 transgenic rat model (PKD2 (1-703)). On the other hand, abnormal proliferation occurs at later stages of the disease as identified by gene expression profiling. Interestingly, other pathways appear to be deregulated at early stages of the disease in this PKD model. Specifically, gene expression analysis demonstrated that at day 0 the RAS system is involved. This is altered at day 6, when Wnt signaling and focal adhesion pathways are affected. However, at and after 24 days, proliferation, apoptosis, altered ECM signaling and many other factors become involved.
Conclusions
Our data suggest that cystogenesis precedes deregulation of proliferation-related pathways, suggesting that proliferation abnormalities may contribute in cyst growth rather than cyst formation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-23
PMCID: PMC2936873  PMID: 20813037
15.  The assessment, serial evaluation, and subsequent sequelae of acute kidney injury (ASSESS-AKI) study: design and methods 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:22.
Background
The incidence of acute kidney injury (AKI) has been increasing over time and is associated with a high risk of short-term death. Previous studies on hospital-acquired AKI have important methodological limitations, especially their retrospective study designs and limited ability to control for potential confounding factors.
Methods
The Assessment, Serial Evaluation, and Subsequent Sequelae of Acute Kidney Injury (ASSESS-AKI) Study was established to examine how a hospitalized episode of AKI independently affects the risk of chronic kidney disease development and progression, cardiovascular events, death, and other important patient-centered outcomes. This prospective study will enroll a cohort of 1100 adult participants with a broad range of AKI and matched hospitalized participants without AKI at three Clinical Research Centers, as well as 100 children undergoing cardiac surgery at three Clinical Research Centers. Participants will be followed for up to four years, and will undergo serial evaluation during the index hospitalization, at three months post-hospitalization, and at annual clinic visits, with telephone interviews occurring during the intervening six-month intervals. Biospecimens will be collected at each visit, along with information on lifestyle behaviors, quality of life and functional status, cognitive function, receipt of therapies, interim renal and cardiovascular events, electrocardiography and urinalysis.
Conclusions
ASSESS-AKI will characterize the short-term and long-term natural history of AKI, evaluate the incremental utility of novel blood and urine biomarkers to refine the diagnosis and prognosis of AKI, and identify a subset of high-risk patients who could be targeted for future clinical trials to improve outcomes after AKI.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-22
PMCID: PMC2944247  PMID: 20799966
16.  Overview of the Canadian pediatric end-stage renal disease database 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:21.
Background
Performing clinical research among pediatric end-stage renal disease patients is challenging. Barriers to successful initiation and completion of clinical research projects include small sample sizes and resultant limited statistical power and lack of longitudinal follow-up for hard clinical end-points in most single center studies.
Description
Existing longitudinal organ failure disease registry and administrative health datasets available within a universal access health care system can be used to study outcomes of end-stage renal disease among pediatric patients in Canada. To construct the Canadian Pediatric End-Stage Renal Disease database, registry data were linked to administrative health data through deterministic linkage techniques creating a research database which consists of socio-demographic variables, clinical variables, all-cause hospitalizations, and relevant outcomes (death and renal allograft loss) for this patient population. The research database also allows study of major cardiovascular events using previously validated administrative data definitions.
Conclusion
Organ failure registry linked to health administrative data can be a powerful tool to perform longitudinal studies in pediatric end-stage renal disease patients. The rich clinical and demographic information found in this database will facilitate study of important medical and non-medical risk factors for death, graft loss and cardiovascular disease among pediatric end-stage renal disease patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-21
PMCID: PMC2940877  PMID: 20796306
17.  Biopsy proven acute interstitial nephritis after treatment with moxifloxacin 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:19.
Background
Acute interstitial nephritis (AIN) is an important cause of reversible acute kidney injury. At least 70% of AIN is caused by various drugs, mainly penicillines and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Quinolones are only rarely known to cause AIN and so far cases have been mainly described with older fluoroquinolones.
Case Presentation
Here we describe a case of biopsy proven interstitial nephritis after moxifloxacin treatment. The patient presented with fever, rigors and dialysis dependent acute kidney injury, just a few days after treatment of a respiratory tract infection with moxifloxacin. The renal biopsy revealed dense infiltrates mainly composed of eosinophils and severe interstitial edema. A course of oral prednisolone (1 mg/kg/day) was commenced and rapidly tapered to zero within three weeks. The renal function improved, and the patient was discharged with a creatinine of 107 μmol/l.
Conclusion
This case illustrates that pharmacovigilance is important to early detect rare side effects, such as AIN, even in drugs with a favourable risk/benefit ratio such as moxifloxacin.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-19
PMCID: PMC2936368  PMID: 20731847
18.  Gender differences in age-related decline in glomerular filtration rates in healthy people and chronic kidney disease patients 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:20.
Background
Since men with chronic kidney disease (CKD) progress faster than women, an accurate assessment of CKD progression rates should be based on gender differences in age-related decline of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) in healthy individuals.
Methods
A Chinese sample population from a stratified, multistage, and clustered CKD screening study was classified into healthy, at-risk, and CKD groups. The gender differences in estimated GFR (eGFR) and age-related eGFR decline were calculated for each group after controlling for blood pressure, fasting glucose levels, serum lipids levels, education level, and smoking status. After referencing to the healthy group, gender-specific multivariate-adjusted rates of decline in eGFR and differences in the rates of decline were calculated for both CKD and at-risk groups.
Results
The healthy, at-risk, and CKD groups consisted of 4569, 7434, and 1573 people, respectively. In all the 3 groups, the multivariate-adjusted eGFRs in men were lower than the corresponding eGFRs in women. In addition, in the healthy and at-risk groups, the rates of decline in eGFR in men were lower than the corresponding rates of decline in women (healthy group: 0.51 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1 vs. 0.74 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1 and at-risk group: 0.60 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1 vs. 0.73 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1). However, in the CKD group, the rates of decline in eGFR in men were similar to those in women (0.96 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1 vs. 0.91 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1). However, after referencing to the healthy group, the rates of decline in eGFR in men in the at-risk and CKD groups were greater faster than the corresponding rates in women (at-risk group: 0.10 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1 vs. -0.03 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1 and CKD group: 0.44 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1 vs. 0.15 mL·min-1·1.73 m-2·yr-1).
Conclusion
To accurately assess gender differences in CKD progression rates, gender differences in age-related decline in GFR should be considered.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-20
PMCID: PMC2936369  PMID: 20731848
chronic kidney disease; glomerular filtration rate; gender; aging
19.  Atherosclerosis, inflammation and lipoprotein glomerulopathy in kidneys of apoE-/-/LDL-/- double knockout mice 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:18.
Background
The apoE-/-/LDL-/- double knockout mice are bearing considerable structural homology to human atherosclerosis. We hypothesized, that advanced lesion formation in the renal artery is associated with kidney alterations in these mice.
Methods
Kidneys from apoE-/-/LDL-/- double knockout mice at the age of 80 weeks (n = 6) and C57/BL control mice (n = 5) were infused with Microfil, harvested and scanned with micro-CT (12 μm cubic voxels) and Nano-CT (900 nm cubic voxels). We quantitated the total vascular volume using micro-CT. Number and cross-sectional area (μm2) of glomeruli were measured using histology.
Results
At the age of 80 weeks, the renal total vascular volume fraction decreased significantly (p < 0.001) compared to controls. Moreover, the renal artery showed advanced atherosclerotic lesions with adventitial Vasa vasorum neovascularization. Perivascular inflammation was present in kidneys of apoE-/-/LDL-/- double knockout mice, predominantly involved are plasma cells and leucocytes. Glomeruli cross-sectional area (9959 ± 1083 μm2) and number (24.8 ± 4.5) increased in apoE-/-/LDL-/- double knockout mice compared to controls (3533 ± 398 μm2; 17.6 ± 3, respectively), whereas 41% of the total number of glomeruli showed evidence for lipoprotein associated glomerulopathy (LPG). Moreover, immunohistochemistry demonstrated capillary aneurysms of the glomeruli filled with factor 8 containing emboli.
Conclusion
The reduced intra-renal total vascular volume is associated with systemic atherosclerosis and glomeruli alterations in the apoE-/-/LDL-/- double knockout mouse model.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-18
PMCID: PMC2931481  PMID: 20727187
20.  Fracture Risk Assessment in Chronic Kidney Disease, Prospective Testing Under Real World Environments (FRACTURE): a prospective study 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:17.
Background
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with an increased risk of fracture. Decreased bone mass and disruption of microarchitecture occur early in the course of CKD and worsens with the progressive decline in renal function so that at the time of initiation of dialysis at least 50% of patients have had a fracture. Despite the excess fracture risk, and the associated increases in morbidity and mortality, little is known about the factors that are associated with an increase in fracture risk. Our study aims to identify prognostic factors for bone loss and fractures in patients with stages 3 to 5 CKD.
Methods
This prospective study aims to enroll two hundred and sixty men and women with stages 3 to 5 CKD. Subjects will be followed for 24 months and we will examine the ability of: 1) bone mineral density by dual x-ray absorptiometry at the spine, hip, and radius; 2) volumetric bone density by high resolution peripheral quantitated computed tomography at the radius and tibia; 3) serum markers of bone turnover; 4) bone formation rate by bone biopsy; and 5) muscle strength and balance to predict spine and non-spine fractures, identified by self-report and/or vertebral morphometry. All measurements will be obtained at baseline, at 12 and at 24 months with the exception of bone biopsy, which will be measured once at 12 months. Subjects will be contacted every 4 months to determine if there have been incident fractures or falls.
Discussion
This study is one of the first that aims to identify risk factors for fracture in early stage CKD patients. Ultimately, by identifying risk factors for fracture and targeting treatments in this group-before the initiation of renal replacement therapy - we will reduce the burden of disease due to fractures among patients with CKD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-17
PMCID: PMC2936367  PMID: 20727179
21.  Effect of different intravenous iron preparations on lymphocyte intracellular reactive oxygen species generation and subpopulation survival 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:16.
Background
Infections in hemodialysis (HD) patients lead to high morbidity and mortality rates and are associated with early cardiovascular mortality, possibly related to chronic inflammation. Intravenous (IV) iron is widely administered to HD patients and has been associated with increased oxidative stress and dysfunctional cellular immunity. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of three commercially available IV iron preparations on intracellular reactive oxygen species generation and lymphocyte subpopulation survival.
Methods
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were isolated from healthy donor buffy coat. PBMC were cultured and incubated with 100 μg/mL of sodium ferric gluconate (SFG), iron sucrose (IS) or iron dextran (ID) for 24 hours. Cells were then probed for reactive oxygen species (ROS) with dichlorofluorescein-diacetate. In separate studies, isolated PBMCs were incubated with the 25, 50 or 100 μg/mL iron concentrations for 72 hours and then stained with fluorescein conjugated monoclonal antibodies for lymphocyte subpopulation identification. Untreated PBMCs at 24 hours and 72 hours served as controls for each experiment.
Results
All three IV iron preparations induced time dependent increases in intracellular ROS with SFG and IS having a greater maximal effect than ID. The CD4+ lymphocytes were most affected by IV iron exposure, with statistically significant reduction in survival after incubation with all three doses (10, 25 and 100 μg/mL) of SFG, IS and ID.
Conclusion
These data indicate IV iron products induce differential deleterious effects on CD4+ and CD16+ human lymphocytes cell populations that may be mediated by intracellular reactive oxygen species generation. Further studies are warranted to determine the potential clinical relevance of these findings.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-16
PMCID: PMC2933673  PMID: 20716362
22.  Over-expression of adenosine deaminase in mouse podocytes does not reverse puromycin aminonucleoside resistance 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:15.
Background
Edema in nephrotic syndrome results from renal retention of sodium and alteration of the permeability properties of capillaries. Nephrotic syndrome induced by puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN) in rats reproduces the biological and clinical signs of the human disease, and has been widely used to identify the cellular mechanisms of sodium retention. Unfortunately, mice do not develop nephrotic syndrome in response to PAN, and we still lack a good mouse model of the disease in which the genetic tools necessary for further characterizing the pathophysiological pathway could be used. Mouse resistance to PAN has been attributed to a defect in glomerular adenosine deaminase (ADA), which metabolizes PAN. We therefore attempted to develop a mouse line sensitive to PAN through induction of normal adenosine metabolism in their podocytes.
Methods
A mouse line expressing functional ADA under the control of the podocyte-specific podocin promoter was generated by transgenesis. The effect of PAN on urinary excretion of sodium and proteins was compared in rats and in mice over-expressing ADA and in littermates.
Results
We confirmed that expression of ADA mRNAs was much lower in wild type mouse than in rat glomerulus. Transgenic mice expressed ADA specifically in the glomerulus, and their ADA activity was of the same order of magnitude as in rats. Nonetheless, ADA transgenic mice remained insensitive to PAN treatment in terms of both proteinuria and sodium retention.
Conclusions
Along with previous results, this study shows that adenosine deaminase is necessary but not sufficient to confer PAN sensitivity to podocytes. ADA transgenic mice could be used as a background strain for further transgenesis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-15
PMCID: PMC2915970  PMID: 20649959
23.  Predicting cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality in chronic kidney disease in Spain. The rationale and design of NEFRONA: a prospective, multicenter, observational cohort study 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:14.
Background
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Cardiovascular risk assessment in this population is hampered by the failure of traditional risk factors to fully account for the elevated CVD risk (reverse epidemiology effect) and the presence of emerging risk factors specifically related to kidney failure. Therefore, diagnostic tools capable of improving cardiovascular risk assessment beyond traditional risk factors are currently warranted. We present the protocol of a 4-year prospective study aimed to assess the predictive value of non-invasive imaging techniques and biomarkers for CVD events and mortality in patients with CKD.
Methods
From November 2009 to October 2010, 4137 asymptomatic adult patients with stages 2 to 5 CKD will be recruited from nephrology services and dialysis units throughout Spain. During the same period, 843 participants without CKD (control group) will be recruited from lists of primary care physicians, only at baseline. During the follow-up, CVD events and mortality will be recorded from all CKD patients. Clinical and laboratory characteristics will be collected in a medical documentation sheet. Three trained itinerant teams will carry out a carotid ultrasound to assess intima-media thickness and presence of plaques. A composite atherosclerosis score will be constructed based on carotid ultrasound data and measurement of ankle-brachial index. In CKD patients, presence and type of calcifications will be assessed in the wall of carotid, femoral and brachial arteries, and in cardiac valves, by ultrasound. From all participants, blood samples will be collected and stored in a biobank to study novel biomarkers.
Conclusions
The NEFRONA study is the first large, prospective study to examine the predictive value of several non-invasive imaging techniques and novel biomarkers in CKD patients throughout Spain. Hereby, we present the protocol of this study aimed to explore the most effective way in which these tests can be integrated with traditional risk factors to maximize CVD detection in this population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-14
PMCID: PMC2919528  PMID: 20609210
24.  Association between routine and standardized blood pressure measurements and left ventricular hypertrophy among patients on hemodialysis 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:13.
Background
Left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy is common among patients on hemodialysis. While a relationship between blood pressure (BP) and LV hypertrophy has been established, it is unclear which BP measurement method is the strongest correlate of LV hypertrophy. We sought to determine agreement between various blood pressure measurement methods, as well as identify which method was the strongest correlate of LV hypertrophy among patients on hemodialysis.
Methods
This was a post-hoc analysis of data from a randomized controlled trial. We evaluated the agreement between seven BP measurement methods: standardized measurement at baseline; single pre- and post-dialysis, as well as mean intra-dialytic measurement at baseline; and cumulative pre-, intra- and post-dialysis readings (an average of 12 monthly readings based on a single day per month). Agreement was assessed using Lin's concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) and the Bland Altman method. Association between BP measurement method and LV hypertrophy on baseline cardiac MRI was determined using receiver operating characteristic curves and area under the curve (AUC).
Results
Agreement between BP measurement methods in the 39 patients on hemodialysis varied considerably, from a CCC of 0.35 to 0.94, with overlapping 95% confidence intervals. Pre-dialysis measurements were the weakest predictors of LV hypertrophy while standardized, post- and inter-dialytic measurements had similar and strong (AUC 0.79 to 0.80) predictive power for LV hypertrophy.
Conclusions
A single standardized BP has strong predictive power for LV hypertrophy and performs just as well as more resource intensive cumulative measurements, whereas pre-dialysis blood pressure measurements have the weakest predictive power for LV hypertrophy. Current guidelines, which recommend using pre-dialysis measurements, should be revisited to confirm these results.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-13
PMCID: PMC2901323  PMID: 20576127
25.  Interventions for renal vasculitis in adults. A systematic review 
BMC Nephrology  2010;11:12.
Background
Renal vasculitis presents as rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis and comprises of a group of conditions characterised by acute kidney failure, haematuria and proteinuria. Treatment of these conditions involves the use of steroid and non-steroid agents with or without adjunctive plasma exchange. Although immunosuppression has been successful, many questions remain unanswered in terms of dose and duration of therapy, the use of plasma exchange and the role of new therapies. This systematic review was conducted to determine the benefits and harms of any intervention for the treatment of renal vasculitis in adults.
Methods
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Renal Group Specialised Register, MEDLINE and EMBASE to June 2009. Randomised controlled trials investigating any intervention for the treatment of adults were included. Two authors independently assessed study quality and extracted data. Statistical analyses were performed using a random effects model and results expressed as risk ratio with 95% confidence intervals for dichotomous outcomes or mean difference for continuous outcomes.
Results
Twenty two studies (1674 patients) were included. Plasma exchange as adjunctive therapy significantly reduces the risk of end-stage kidney disease at 12 months (five studies: RR 0.47, CI 0.30 to 0.75). Four studies compared the use of pulse and continuous administration of cyclophosphamide. Remission rates were equivalent but pulse treatment causes an increased risk of relapse (4 studies: RR 1.79, CI 1.11 to 2.87) compared with continuous cyclophosphamide. Azathioprine has equivalent efficacy as a maintenance agent to cyclophosphamide with fewer episodes of leukopenia. Mycophenolate mofetil may be equivalent to cyclophosphamide as an induction agent but resulted in a higher relapse rate when tested against Azathioprine in remission maintenance. Rituximab is an effective remission induction agent. Methotrexate or Leflunomide are potential choices in remission maintenance therapy. Oral co-trimoxazole did not reduce relapses significantly in Wegener's granulomatosis.
Conclusions
Plasma exchange is effective in patients with severe ARF secondary to vasculitis. Pulse cyclophosphamide results in an increased risk of relapse when compared to continuous oral use but a reduced total dose. Whilst cyclophosphamide is standard induction treatment, rituximab and mycophenolate mofetil are also effective. Azathioprine, methotrexate and leflunomide are effective as maintenance therapy. Further studies are required to more clearly delineate the appropriate place of newer agents within an evidence-based therapeutic strategy.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-11-12
PMCID: PMC2914014  PMID: 20573267

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