Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Erythropoietin


Current treatment of anemia in chronic kidney disease (CKD) with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents can lead to substantial hemoglobin oscillations above target range and high levels of circulating erythropoietin. Vadadustat (AKB-6548), a novel, titratable, oral hypoxia-inducible factor prolyl hydroxylase inhibitor induces endogenous erythropoietin synthesis and enhances iron mobilization. In this 20-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 2b study, we evaluated the efficacy and safety of once-daily vadadustat in patients with stages 3a to 5 non-dialysis-dependent CKD. The primary endpoint was the percentage of patients who, during the last 2 weeks of treatment, achieved or maintained either a mean hemoglobin level of 11.0 g/dl or more or a mean increase in hemoglobin of 1.2 g/dl or more over the predose average. Significantly, the primary endpoint was met in 54.9% of patients on vadadustat and 10.3% of patients on placebo. Significant increases in both reticulocytes and total iron-binding capacity and significant decreases in both serum hepcidin and ferritin levels were observed in patients on vadadustat compared with placebo. The overall incidence of adverse events was comparable between the 2 groups. Serious adverse events occurred in 23.9% and 15.3% of the vadadustat- and placebo-treated patients, respectively. Three deaths occurred in the vadadustat arm. Thus, this phase 2b study demonstrated that vadadustat raised and maintained hemoglobin levels in a predictable and controlled manner while enhancing iron mobilization in patients with nondialysis-dependent CKD.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Erythropoietin, Red blood cell, Anemia, Transferrin, Ferritin


Recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEpo) increases haemoglobin mass (Hb(mass)) and maximal oxygen uptake ([Formula: see text] O(2 max)). PURPOSE: This study defined the time course of changes in Hb(mass), [Formula: see text] O(2 max) as well as running time trial performance following 4 weeks of rHuEpo administration to determine whether the laboratory observations would translate into actual improvements in running performance in the field. METHODS: 19 trained men received rHuEpo injections of 50 IU•kg(-1) body mass every two days for 4 weeks. Hb(mass) was determined weekly using the optimized carbon monoxide rebreathing method until 4 weeks after administration. [Formula: see text] O(2 max) and 3,000 m time trial performance were measured pre, post administration and at the end of the study. RESULTS: Relative to baseline, running performance significantly improved by ∼6% after administration (10∶30±1∶07 min:sec vs. 11∶08±1∶15 min:sec, p<0.001) and remained significantly enhanced by ∼3% 4 weeks after administration (10∶46±1∶13 min:sec, p<0.001), while [Formula: see text] O(2 max) was also significantly increased post administration (60.7±5.8 mL•min(-1)•kg(-1) vs. 56.0±6.2 mL•min(-1)•kg(-1), p<0.001) and remained significantly increased 4 weeks after rHuEpo (58.0±5.6 mL•min(-1)•kg(-1), p = 0.021). Hb(mass) was significantly increased at the end of administration compared to baseline (15.2±1.5 g•kg(-1) vs. 12.7±1.2 g•kg(-1), p<0.001). The rate of decrease in Hb(mass) toward baseline values post rHuEpo was similar to that of the increase during administration (-0.53 g•kg(-1)•wk(-1), 95% confidence interval (CI) (-0.68, -0.38) vs. 0.54 g•kg(-1•)wk(-1), CI (0.46, 0.63)) but Hb(mass) was still significantly elevated 4 weeks after administration compared to baseline (13.7±1.1 g•kg(-1), p<0.001). CONCLUSION: Running performance was improved following 4 weeks of rHuEpo and remained elevated 4 weeks after administration compared to baseline. These field performance effects coincided with rHuEpo-induced elevated [Formula: see text] O(2 max) and Hb(mass).

Concepts: Better, Hemoglobin, Oxygen, Erythropoietin, Improve, Carbon monoxide, VO2 max, Knitting


Patients with end stage renal disease often fail to follow prescribed dietary and fluid regimen, leading to undesirable outcomes. This study aimed to examine and identify factors influencing dietary, fluid, medication and dialysis compliance behaviours in patients undergoing hemodialysis.

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Erythropoietin, Hemodialysis, Peritoneum, Artificial kidney


BACKGROUND: Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is an important hormone in the regulation of phosphate metabolism. It is unclear whether FGF23 is associated with carotid artery calcification (CAAC) in predialysis patients. The present study aimed to clarify the relationship between FGF23 and CAAC in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who were not on dialysis. METHODS: One-hundred ninety-five predialysis CKD patients were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. CAAC was assessed using multidetector computed tomography, and the prevalence of CAAC was examined. Intact FGF23 was measured in each patient. The risk factors for CAAC were evaluated using a logistic regression model. RESULTS: We found CAAC in 66% of the patients. The prevalence of CAAC significantly increased across CKD stages: it was 37% in CKD stages 1–2, 58% in stage 3; 75% in stage 4, and 77% in stage 5 (p < 0.01). In multivariate analysis, smoking, diabetes mellitus and log FGF23 were each identified as risk factors for CAAC. The study population was divided in quartiles of FGF23 levels. Compared with the lowest FGF23 quartile, each subsequent quartile had a progressively higher odds ratio (OR) for CAAC, adjusted for confounders (ORs [95% confidence interval] of 2.34 [0.78 to 7.31], 5.28 [1.56 to 19.5], and 13.6 [2.92 to 74.6] for the second, third, and fourth quartiles, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of CAAC is increased with the decline in the kidney function. FGF23 is independently related to CAAC in patients with CKD who are not on dialysis.

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Erythropoietin, Epidemiology, Diabetes mellitus, Medical statistics


Renal fibrosis represents a common pathway leading to progression of chronic kidney disease. Renal interstitial fibrosis is characterized by extensive fibroblast activation and excessive production and deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM), which leads to progressive loss of kidney function. There is no effective therapy available clinically to halt or even reverse renal fibrosis. Although activated fibroblasts/myofibroblasts are responsible for the excessive production and deposition of ECM, their origin remains controversial. Recent evidence suggests that bone marrow-derived fibroblast precursors contribute significantly to the pathogenesis of renal fibrosis. Understanding the molecular signaling mechanisms underlying the recruitment and activation of the bone marrow-derived fibroblast precursors will lead to novel therapy for the treatment of chronic kidney disease. In this review, we summarize recent advances in our understanding of the recruitment and activation of bone marrow-derived fibroblast precursors in the kidney and the development of renal fibrosis and highlights new insights that may lead to novel therapies to prevent or reverse the development of renal fibrosis.

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Erythropoietin, Collagen, Extracellular matrix, Renal physiology


Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have been found to show markedly increased rates of end-stage renal disease, major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events (MACCEs), and mortality. Therefore, new biomarkers are required for the early detection of such clinical outcomes in patients with CKD. We aimed to determine whether the level of circulating renalase was associated with CKD progression, MACCEs, and all-cause mortality, using data from a prospective randomized controlled study, Kremezin STudy Against Renal disease progression in Korea (K-STAR; NCT 00860431).

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Erythropoietin


Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use is associated with an increased risk of acute kidney injury (AKI), incident chronic kidney disease (CKD), and progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). PPI-associated CKD is presumed to be mediated by intervening AKI. However, whether PPI use is associated with an increased risk of chronic renal outcomes in the absence of intervening AKI is unknown. To evaluate this we used the Department of Veterans Affairs national databases to build a cohort of 144,032 incident users of acid suppression therapy that included 125,596 PPI and 18,436 Histamine H2 receptor antagonist (H2 blockers) consumers. Over 5 years of follow-up in survival models, cohort participants were censored at the time of AKI occurrence. Compared with incident users of H2 blockers, incident users of PPIs had an increased risk of an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) under 60 ml/min/1.73m(2) (hazard ratio 1.19; 95% confidence interval 1.15-1.24), incident CKD (1.26; 1.20-1.33), eGFR decline over 30% (1.22; 1.16-1.28), and ESRD or eGFR decline over 50% (1.30; 1.15-1.48). Results were consistent in models that excluded participants with AKI either before chronic renal outcomes, during the time in the cohort, or before cohort entry. The proportion of PPI effect mediated by AKI was 44.7%, 45.47%, 46.00%, and 46.72% for incident eGFR under 60 ml/min/1.73m(2), incident CKD, eGFR decline over 30%, and ESRD or over 50% decline in eGFR, respectively. Thus, PPI use is associated with increased risk of chronic renal outcomes in the absence of intervening AKI. Hence, reliance on antecedent AKI as warning sign to guard against the risk of CKD among PPI users is not sufficient as a sole mitigation strategy.

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Erythropoietin, Dialysis, Renal physiology, Electrolyte


Background Among patients in the United States with chronic kidney disease, black patients are at increased risk for end-stage renal disease, as compared with white patients. Methods In two studies, we examined the effects of variants in the gene encoding apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) on the progression of chronic kidney disease. In the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK), we evaluated 693 black patients with chronic kidney disease attributed to hypertension. In the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) study, we evaluated 2955 white patients and black patients with chronic kidney disease (46% of whom had diabetes) according to whether they had 2 copies of high-risk APOL1 variants (APOL1 high-risk group) or 0 or 1 copy (APOL1 low-risk group). In the AASK study, the primary outcome was a composite of end-stage renal disease or a doubling of the serum creatinine level. In the CRIC study, the primary outcomes were the slope in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and the composite of end-stage renal disease or a reduction of 50% in the eGFR from baseline. Results In the AASK study, the primary outcome occurred in 58.1% of the patients in the APOL1 high-risk group and in 36.6% of those in the APOL1 low-risk group (hazard ratio in the high-risk group, 1.88; P<0.001). There was no interaction between APOL1 status and trial interventions or the presence of baseline proteinuria. In the CRIC study, black patients in the APOL1 high-risk group had a more rapid decline in the eGFR and a higher risk of the composite renal outcome than did white patients, among those with diabetes and those without diabetes (P<0.001 for all comparisons). Conclusions Renal risk variants in APOL1 were associated with the higher rates of end-stage renal disease and progression of chronic kidney disease that were observed in black patients as compared with white patients, regardless of diabetes status. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and others.).

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Erythropoietin, Dialysis, Hypertension, Renal physiology


Undocumented immigrants with end-stage renal disease have variable access to hemodialysis in the United States despite evidence-based standards for frequency of dialysis care.

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Nephrology, Erythropoietin, United States, Hemodialysis, Artificial kidney, Immigration to the United States


Residence at higher altitude has been associated with improved anemia parameters and lower mortality rates among end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. However, these associations were observed prior to the 2011 shift in erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) dosing. To determine the impact of altitude on contemporary ESRD patients, a retrospective observational analysis was conducted in which patients were ascribed to one of four altitude categories as of 1 Jan 2012 and outcomes were assessed during 2012. Associations between altitude category and outcomes were estimated using generalized linear mixed models, adjusted for covariates that differed at baseline. Patients at higher altitude were less likely to receive ESA treatment, and dose was 723 U/treatment (95 % confidence interval [CI]: 544, 834) lower in the highest altitude category compared to the lowest category. The proportion of patients using IV iron decreased with increasing altitude category. Patients in the highest two categories had greater mean hemoglobin values (+0.15 and +0.23 g/dL) than the lowest. Mortality was lower for patients in the highest altitude category compared to those in the lowest (incidence rate ratio 0.73; 95 % CI: 0.63, 0.88), although their rate of missed dialysis treatments was slightly higher. This study confirms that, in the context of current anemia management practices, high altitude is associated with higher hemoglobin and lower mortality, despite lower utilization of ESA and IV iron.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Erythropoietin, Dialysis, Hemodialysis