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Concept: Renal physiology


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of creatine supplementation on kidney function in resistance-trained individuals ingesting a high-protein diet. METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed. The participants were randomly allocated to receive either creatine (20 g/d for 5 d followed by 5 g/d throughout the trial) or placebo for 12 weeks. All of the participants were engaged in resistance training and consumed a high-protein diet (i.e., >= 1.2 g/Kg/d). Subjects were assessed at baseline (Pre) and after 12 weeks (Post). Glomerular filtration rate was measured by 51Cr-EDTA clearance. Additionally, blood samples and a 24-h urine collection were obtained for other kidney function assessments. RESULTS: No significant differences were observed for 51Cr-EDTA clearance throughout the trial (Creatine: Pre 101.42 +/- 13.11, Post 108.78 +/- 14.41 mL/min/1.73m2; Placebo: Pre 103.29 +/- 17.64, Post 106.68 +/- 16.05 mL/min/1.73m2; group x time interaction: F = 0.21, p = 0.64). Creatinine clearance, serum and urinary urea, electrolytes, proteinuria, and albuminuria remained virtually unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: A 12-week creatine supplementation protocol did not affect kidney function in resistance-trained healthy individuals consuming a high-protein diet; thus reinforcing the safety of this dietary supplement.Trial registration: NCT01817673.

Concepts: Kidney, Renal failure, Blood urea nitrogen, Renal function, Renal physiology, Urea, Electrolyte, Nephrology


Background The epidemiologic characteristics of children and young adults with acute kidney injury have been described in single-center and retrospective studies. We conducted a multinational, prospective study involving patients admitted to pediatric intensive care units to define the incremental risk of death and complications associated with severe acute kidney injury. Methods We used the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes criteria to define acute kidney injury. Severe acute kidney injury was defined as stage 2 or 3 acute kidney injury (plasma creatinine level ≥2 times the baseline level or urine output <0.5 ml per kilogram of body weight per hour for ≥12 hours) and was assessed for the first 7 days of intensive care. All patients 3 months to 25 years of age who were admitted to 1 of 32 participating units were screened during 3 consecutive months. The primary outcome was 28-day mortality. Results A total of 4683 patients were evaluated; acute kidney injury developed in 1261 patients (26.9%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 25.6 to 28.2), and severe acute kidney injury developed in 543 patients (11.6%; 95% CI, 10.7 to 12.5). Severe acute kidney injury conferred an increased risk of death by day 28 after adjustment for 16 covariates (adjusted odds ratio, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.17 to 2.68); death occurred in 60 of the 543 patients (11.0%) with severe acute kidney injury versus 105 of the 4140 patients (2.5%) without severe acute kidney injury (P<0.001). Severe acute kidney injury was associated with increased use of mechanical ventilation and renal-replacement therapy. A stepwise increase in 28-day mortality was associated with worsening severity of acute kidney injury (P<0.001 by log-rank test). Assessment of acute kidney injury according to the plasma creatinine level alone failed to identify acute kidney injury in 67.2% of the patients with low urine output. Conclusions Acute kidney injury is common and is associated with poor outcomes, including increased mortality, among critically ill children and young adults. (Funded by the Pediatric Nephrology Center of Excellence at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and others; AWARE number, NCT01987921 .).

Concepts: Ureter, Renal physiology, Renal failure, Odds ratio, Urine, Nephrology, Kidney, Epidemiology


Background Ultrafiltration is an alternative strategy to diuretic therapy for the treatment of patients with acute decompensated heart failure. Little is known about the efficacy and safety of ultrafiltration in patients with acute decompensated heart failure complicated by persistent congestion and worsened renal function. Methods We randomly assigned a total of 188 patients with acute decompensated heart failure, worsened renal function, and persistent congestion to a strategy of stepped pharmacologic therapy (94 patients) or ultrafiltration (94 patients). The primary end point was the bivariate change from baseline in the serum creatinine level and body weight, as assessed 96 hours after random assignment. Patients were followed for 60 days. Results Ultrafiltration was inferior to pharmacologic therapy with respect to the bivariate end point of the change in the serum creatinine level and body weight 96 hours after enrollment (P=0.003), owing primarily to an increase in the creatinine level in the ultrafiltration group. At 96 hours, the mean change in the creatinine level was -0.04±0.53 mg per deciliter (-3.5±46.9 μmol per liter) in the pharmacologic-therapy group, as compared with +0.23±0.70 mg per deciliter (20.3±61.9 μmol per liter) in the ultrafiltration group (P=0.003). There was no significant difference in weight loss 96 hours after enrollment between patients in the pharmacologic-therapy group and those in the ultrafiltration group (a loss of 5.5±5.1 kg [12.1±11.3 lb] and 5.7±3.9 kg [12.6±8.5 lb], respectively; P=0.58). A higher percentage of patients in the ultrafiltration group than in the pharmacologic-therapy group had a serious adverse event (72% vs. 57%, P=0.03). Conclusions In a randomized trial involving patients hospitalized for acute decompensated heart failure, worsened renal function, and persistent congestion, the use of a stepped pharmacologic-therapy algorithm was superior to a strategy of ultrafiltration for the preservation of renal function at 96 hours, with a similar amount of weight loss with the two approaches. Ultrafiltration was associated with a higher rate of adverse events. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; number, NCT00608491 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Kilogram, Creatinine, Adverse event, Blood urea nitrogen, Acute decompensated heart failure, Heart failure, Renal physiology


Various hydroxyethyl starch (HES) preparations have been used for decades to augment blood volume. There has been concern recently regarding possible adverse outcomes when using HES in the intensive care setting, especially in patients with septic shock. However, the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of HES preparations depend on their chemical composition and source material. Thus, different clinical conditions could result in differing effectiveness and safety for these preparations. Consequently, we assessed the safety of tetrastarches when used during surgery, using a formal search, that yielded 59 primary full publications of studies that met a priori inclusion criteria and randomly allocated 4529 patients with 2139 patients treated with tetrastarch compared with 2390 patients treated with a comparator. There were no indications that the use of tetrastarches during surgery induces adverse renal effects as assessed by change or absolute concentrations of serum creatinine or need for renal replacement therapy (39 trials, 3389 patients), increased blood loss (38 trials, 3280 patients), allogeneic erythrocyte transfusion (20 trials, 2151 patients; odds ratio for HES transfusion 0.73 [95% confidence interval = 0.61-0.87], P = 0.0005), or increased mortality (odds ratio for HES mortality = 0.51 [0.24-1.05], P = 0.079).

Concepts: Intensive care medicine, Renal physiology, Hypovolemia, Septic shock, Blood transfusion, 3rd millennium, Starch, Blood


BACKGROUND: Incorporation of the solubilizing excipient, sulfobutylether-beta-cyclodextrin (SBECD), in the intravenous (IV) formulation of voriconazole has resulted in the recommendation that this formulation be used with caution in patients with creatinine clearances (Clcr) < 50 mL/min. This study evaluated the safety of IV voriconazole compared with two other IV antifungals not containing SBECD in patients with compromised renal function. METHODS: A total of 128 patients aged 11--93 years who had a baseline Clcr < 50 mL/min between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2010 were identified from a database of a university-affiliated inpatient healthcare system; of these, 55 patients received caspofungin, 54 patients received fluconazole, and 19 patients received voriconazole. Changes in serum creatinine (Scr) and Clcr levels while on therapy were compared with baseline values and between groups. RESULTS: The groups had similar characteristics apart from the larger proportion of females that received fluconazole. Baseline Scr was higher in those receiving caspofungin, but maximal increases of Scr and decreases in Clcr were greatest for the fluconazole group. Acute kidney injury (AKI), assessed by RIFLE criteria, was more frequent in the fluconazole vs. the caspofungin group (p < 0.01); incidence of AKI in the voriconazole group was not significantly different than found in the other two groups. The infecting organism was a predictor of AKI and formulation with SBECD was not. CONCLUSIONS: Treatment of fungal infections in patients with compromised renal function with an SBECD-containing antifungal agent was not associated with AKI in clinical practice. Since the infecting organism was associated with AKI, decision on which antifungal to use should be determined by susceptibilities to the organism and not the incorporation of SBECD in the IV formulation.

Concepts: Athlete's foot, Blood urea nitrogen, Griseofulvin, Renal failure, Antifungal drug, Renal physiology, Candidiasis, Antifungals


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


Background Evaluation of candidates to serve as living kidney donors relies on screening for individual risk factors for end-stage renal disease (ESRD). To support an empirical approach to donor selection, we developed a tool that simultaneously incorporates multiple health characteristics to estimate a person’s probable long-term risk of ESRD if that person does not donate a kidney. Methods We used risk associations from a meta-analysis of seven general population cohorts, calibrated to the population-level incidence of ESRD and mortality in the United States, to project the estimated long-term incidence of ESRD among persons who do not donate a kidney, according to 10 demographic and health characteristics. We then compared 15-year projections with the observed risk among 52,998 living kidney donors in the United States. Results A total of 4,933,314 participants from seven cohorts were followed for a median of 4 to 16 years. For a 40-year-old person with health characteristics that were similar to those of age-matched kidney donors, the 15-year projections of the risk of ESRD in the absence of donation varied according to race and sex; the risk was 0.24% among black men, 0.15% among black women, 0.06% among white men, and 0.04% among white women. Risk projections were higher in the presence of a lower estimated glomerular filtration rate, higher albuminuria, hypertension, current or former smoking, diabetes, and obesity. In the model-based lifetime projections, the risk of ESRD was highest among persons in the youngest age group, particularly among young blacks. The 15-year observed risks after donation among kidney donors in the United States were 3.5 to 5.3 times as high as the projected risks in the absence of donation. Conclusions Multiple demographic and health characteristics may be used together to estimate the projected long-term risk of ESRD among living kidney-donor candidates and to inform acceptance criteria for kidney donors. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and others.).

Concepts: Renal physiology, Chronic kidney disease, Race, Black people, White people, Kidney, Nephrology, Renal failure


Background In previous analyses of BENEFIT, a phase 3 study, belatacept-based immunosuppression, as compared with cyclosporine-based immunosuppression, was associated with similar patient and graft survival and significantly improved renal function in kidney-transplant recipients. Here we present the final results from this study. Methods We randomly assigned kidney-transplant recipients to a more-intensive belatacept regimen, a less-intensive belatacept regimen, or a cyclosporine regimen. Efficacy and safety outcomes for all patients who underwent randomization and transplantation were analyzed at year 7 (month 84). Results A total of 666 participants were randomly assigned to a study group and underwent transplantation. Of the 660 patients who were treated, 153 of the 219 patients treated with the more-intensive belatacept regimen, 163 of the 226 treated with the less-intensive belatacept regimen, and 131 of the 215 treated with the cyclosporine regimen were followed for the full 84-month period; all available data were used in the analysis. A 43% reduction in the risk of death or graft loss was observed for both the more-intensive and the less-intensive belatacept regimens as compared with the cyclosporine regimen (hazard ratio with the more-intensive regimen, 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.35 to 0.95; P=0.02; hazard ratio with the less-intensive regimen, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.35 to 0.94; P=0.02), with equal contributions from the lower rates of death and graft loss. The mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) increased over the 7-year period with both belatacept regimens but declined with the cyclosporine regimen. The cumulative frequencies of serious adverse events at month 84 were similar across treatment groups. Conclusions Seven years after transplantation, patient and graft survival and the mean eGFR were significantly higher with belatacept (both the more-intensive regimen and the less-intensive regimen) than with cyclosporine. (Funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb; number, NCT00256750 .).

Concepts: Organ transplant, Electrolyte, Renal function, Kidney, Renal physiology, Nephrology, Renal failure, Bristol-Myers Squibb


Background Combination therapy with angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) decreases proteinuria; however, its safety and effect on the progression of kidney disease are uncertain. Methods We provided losartan (at a dose of 100 mg per day) to patients with type 2 diabetes, a urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (with albumin measured in milligrams and creatinine measured in grams) of at least 300, and an estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of 30.0 to 89.9 ml per minute per 1.73 m(2) of body-surface area and then randomly assigned them to receive lisinopril (at a dose of 10 to 40 mg per day) or placebo. The primary end point was the first occurrence of a change in the estimated GFR (a decline of ≥30 ml per minute per 1.73 m(2) if the initial estimated GFR was ≥60 ml per minute per 1.73 m(2) or a decline of ≥50% if the initial estimated GFR was <60 ml per minute per 1.73 m(2)), end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or death. The secondary renal end point was the first occurrence of a decline in the estimated GFR or ESRD. Safety outcomes included mortality, hyperkalemia, and acute kidney injury. Results The study was stopped early owing to safety concerns. Among 1448 randomly assigned patients with a median follow-up of 2.2 years, there were 152 primary end-point events in the monotherapy group and 132 in the combination-therapy group (hazard ratio with combination therapy, 0.88; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.70 to 1.12; P=0.30). A trend toward a benefit from combination therapy with respect to the secondary end point (hazard ratio, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.58 to 1.05; P=0.10) decreased with time (P=0.02 for nonproportionality). There was no benefit with respect to mortality (hazard ratio for death, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.73 to 1.49; P=0.75) or cardiovascular events. Combination therapy increased the risk of hyperkalemia (6.3 events per 100 person-years, vs. 2.6 events per 100 person-years with monotherapy; P<0.001) and acute kidney injury (12.2 vs. 6.7 events per 100 person-years, P<0.001). Conclusions Combination therapy with an ACE inhibitor and an ARB was associated with an increased risk of adverse events among patients with diabetic nephropathy. (Funded by the Cooperative Studies Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development; VA NEPHRON-D number, NCT00555217 .).

Concepts: Renal physiology, Dialysis, Kidney diseases, Diabetic nephropathy, Angiotensin II receptor antagonist, Nephrology, Kidney, Renal failure


The effect of clinically recovered AKI (r-AKI) on future pregnancy outcomes is unknown. We retrospectively studied all women who delivered infants between 1998 and 2007 at Massachusetts General Hospital to assess whether a previous episode of r-AKI associated with subsequent adverse maternal and fetal outcomes, including preeclampsia. AKI was defined as rise in serum creatinine concentration to 1.5-fold above baseline. We compared pregnancy outcomes in women with r-AKI without history of CKD (eGFR>90 ml/min per 1.73 m(2) before conception; n=105) with outcomes in women without kidney disease (controls; n=24,640). The r-AKI and control groups had similar prepregnancy serum creatinine measurements (0.70±0.20 versus 0.69±0.10 mg/dl; P=0.36). However, women with r-AKI had increased rates of preeclampsia compared with controls (23% versus 4%; P<0.001). Infants of women with r-AKI were born earlier than infants of controls (37.6±3.6 versus 39.2±2.2 weeks; P<0.001), with increased rates of small for gestational age births (15% versus 8%; P=0.03). After multivariate adjustment, r-AKI associated with increased risk for preeclampsia (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 5.9; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 3.6 to 9.7) and adverse fetal outcomes (aOR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.6 to 3.7). When women with r-AKI and controls were matched 1:2 by age, race, body mass index, diastolic BP, parity, and diabetes status, r-AKI remained associated with preeclampsia (OR, 4.7; 95% CI, 2.1 to 10.1) and adverse fetal outcomes (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.2 to 3.7). Thus, a past episode of AKI, despite return to normal renal function before pregnancy, associated with adverse outcomes in pregnancy.

Concepts: Body mass index, Renal physiology, Childbirth, Embryo, Gestational age, Obstetrics, Pregnancy, Fetus