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Concept: Renin


The kidney functions in key physiological processes to filter blood and regulate blood pressure via key molecular transporters and ion channels. Sex-specific differences have been observed in renal disease incidence and progression, as well as acute kidney injury in response to certain drugs. Although advances have been made in characterizing the molecular components involved in various kidney functions, the molecular mechanisms responsible for sex differences are not well understood. We hypothesized that the basal expression levels of genes involved in various kidney functions throughout the life cycle will influence sex-specific susceptibilities to adverse renal events.

Concepts: DNA, Renal failure, Kidney, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Blood pressure, Renin


BACKGROUND: To evaluated the prognostic significance of the pre-operative C-reactive protein (CRP) serum level in patients with renal cell cancer (RCC). METHODS: We evaluated 1,161 RCC patients with complete patient and tumour specific characteristics as well as information about their pre-operative CRP-level, who had undergone either radical nephrectomy or nephron-sparing surgery at two German high-volume centres (University Hospitals of Hannover and Ulm). The mean follow-up was 54 months. RESULTS: The CRP-level, stratified to three subgroups (CRP <= 4, 4--10, and >10 mg/l), correlated significantly with tumour stage (p < 0.001), the risk of presenting nodal disease (2.1, 3.1, and 16.4%) and distant metastasis (2.9, 8.6, and 30.0%; p < 0.001). The Kaplan-Meier 5-year cancer specific survival (CSS) rates were 89.4, 77.9, and 49.5%, respectively (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis identified CRP as an independent prognosticator for CSS as well as overall survival (p < 0.001). Patients with a CRP of 4--10 and >10 mg/l had a 1.67 and 2.48 fold higher risk of dying due to their RCC compared to those with a pre-operative CRP <=4 mg/l, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: A high preoperative serum CRP level is an independent predictor of poor survival in patients with RCC. Its routine use could allow better risk stratification and risk-adjusted follow-up of RCC patients.

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, C-reactive protein, Renin, Renal cell carcinoma, Nephrectomy, Kidney cancer


Aliskiren is the newest antihypertensive drug and the first orally active direct renin inhibitor to become available for clinical use. Clinical data have substantiated that the antihypertensive effectiveness of aliskiren is similar to that of the other major antihypertensive agents. Furthermore, aliskiren has a similar safety profile to placebo. Combination treatment with aliskiren showed significant blood pressure and proteinuria reductions compared with monotherapy. Aliskiren decreases plasma renin activity in contrast to other renin-angiotensin-aldosterone related drugs. The efficacy of aliskiren in treating major cardiovascular events and the prevention of end-organ damage are being investigated in the ASPIRE HIGHER program. Although the first studies of the ASPIRE HIGHER program such as ALOFT, AVOID, AGELESS showed favorable findings, ASPIRE and AVANT-GARDE studies provided contradictory results. Subsequently, the ALTITUDE study was terminated early because of safety issues and lack of beneficial effects. Most recently, the ASTRONAUT trial showed no reduction in cardiovascular death or heart failure rehospitalization with the addition of aliskiren to standard therapy in patients who were hospitalized for heart failure and with reduced left-ventricular ejection fraction. The results of ongoing studies in other patient groups such as the ATMOSPHERE trial are awaited.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Blood, Myocardial infarction, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Effectiveness, Renin, Antihypertensive agents


Primary aldosteronism (PA) secondary to excessive and/or autonomous aldosterone secretion from the renin angiotensin system (RAS) accounts for approximately 10% of cases of hypertension and is primarily caused by bilateral adrenal hyperplasia (BAH) or aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs). Although the diagnosis has traditionally been supported by low serum potassium levels, normokalemic and even normotensive forms of PA have been identified expanding further the clinical phenotype. Morever, recent evidence has shown that serum aldosterone correlates with increased blood pressure in the general population and even moderately raised aldosterone levels are linked to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In addition, aldosterone antagonists are effective in blood pressure control even in patients without evidence of dysregulated aldosterone secretion. These findings indicate a higher prevalence of aldosterone excess among hypertensive patients than previously considered that could be attributed to disease heterogeneity, aldosterone level fluctuations related to an adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) effect, or inadequate sensitivity of current diagnostic means to identify apparent aldosterone excess. In addition, functioning aberrant receptors expressed in the adrenal tissue have been found in a subset of PA cases that could also be related to its pathogenesis. Recently a number of specific genetic alterations, mainly involving ion homeostasis across the membrane of zona glomerulosa, have been detected in approximately 50% of patients with APAs. Although specific genotype/phenotype correlations have not been clearly identified, differential expression of these genetic alterations could also account for the wide clinical phenotype, variations in disease prevalence and performance of diagnostic tests. In the present review, we critically analyze current means used to diagnose PA along with the role that ACTH, aberrant receptor expression and genetic alterations may exert, and provide evidence for an increased prevalence of aldosterone dysregulation in patients with essential hypertension and pre-hypertension.

Concepts: Kidney, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Aldosterone, Cortisol, Renin-angiotensin system, Renin, Hyperaldosteronism


Aldosterone antagonists slow the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD), but their use is limited by hyperkalemia, especially when associated with RAS inhibitors. We examined the renoprotective effects of Ly, a novel non-steroidal mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) blocker, through two experimental protocols: In Protocol 1, male Munich-Wistar rats underwent 5/6 renal ablation (Nx), being divided into: Nx+V, receiving vehicle, Nx+Eple, given eplerenone, 150 mg/kg/day, and Nx+Ly, given Ly, 20 mg/kg/day. A group of untreated sham-operated rats was also studied. Ly markedly raised plasma renin activity (PRA) and aldosterone, and exerted more effective anti-albuminuric and renoprotective action than eplerenone. In Protocol 2, Nx rats remained untreated until Day 60, when they were divided into: Nx+V receiving vehicle; Nx+L treated with losartan, 50 mg/kg/day; Nx+L+Eple, given losartan and eplerenone, and Nx+L+Ly, given losartan and Ly. Treatments lasted for 90 days. As an add-on to losartan, Ly normalized blood pressure and albuminuria, and prevented CKD progression more effectively than eplerenone. This effect was associated with strong stimulation of PRA and aldosterone. Despite exhibiting higher affinity for the MR than either eplerenone or spironolactone, Ly caused no hyperkalemia. Ly may become a novel asset in the effort to detain the progression of CKD.

Concepts: Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Blood pressure, Aldosterone, Spironolactone, Eplerenone, Renin


Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) are the major pesticides used worldwide. Converging evidence suggests that GBH, such as Roundup, pose a particular health risk to liver and kidneys although low environmentally relevant doses have not been examined. To address this issue, a 2-year study in rats administering 0.1 ppb Roundup (50 ng/L glyphosate equivalent) via drinking water (giving a daily intake of 4 ng/kg bw/day of glyphosate) was conducted. A marked increased incidence of anatomorphological and blood/urine biochemical changes was indicative of liver and kidney structure and functional pathology. In order to confirm these findings we have conducted a transcriptome microarray analysis of the liver and kidneys from these same animals.

Concepts: Kidney, Liver, Renal cortex, Renin, Offal, Herbicide, Glyphosate, Roundup


Salt sensitivity of blood pressure affects >30% of the hypertensive and >15% of the normotensive population. Variants of the electrogenic sodium bicarbonate cotransporter NBCe2 gene, SLC4A5, are associated with increased blood pressure in several ethnic groups. SLC4A5 variants are also highly associated with salt sensitivity, independent of hypertension. However, little is known about how NBCe2 contributes to salt sensitivity, although NBCe2 regulates renal tubular sodium bicarbonate transport. We hypothesized that SLC4A5 rs10177833 and rs7571842 increase NBCe2 expression and human renal proximal tubule cell (hRPTC) sodium transport and may be a cause of salt sensitivity of blood pressure.

Concepts: Gene, Cell, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Renin-angiotensin system, Potassium, Orthostatic hypotension, Renin


Renin angiotensin system (RAS) is known to play a key role in several diseases such as diabetes, and renal and cardiovascular pathologies. Its blockade has been demonstrated to delay chronic kidney disease progression and cardiovascular damage in diabetic patients. In this sense, since local RAS has been described, the aim of this study is to characterize angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and ACE2 activities, as well as protein expression, in several tissues of the non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice model. After 21 or 40 days of diabetes onset, mouse serums and tissues were analyzed for ACE and ACE2 enzyme activities and protein expression. ACE and ACE2 enzyme activities were detected in different tissues. Their expressions vary depending on the studied tissue. Thus, whereas ACE activity was highly expressed in lungs, ACE2 activity was highly expressed in pancreas among the studied tissues. Interestingly, we also observed that diabetes up-regulates ACE mainly in serum, lung, heart, and liver, and ACE2 mainly in serum, liver, and pancreas. In conclusion, we found a marked serum and pulmonary alteration in ACE activity of diabetic mice, suggesting a common regulation. The increase of ACE2 activity within the circulation in diabetic mice may be ascribed to a compensatory mechanism of RAS.

Concepts: Kidney, Hypertension, Glucose, Heart, Organ, Angiotensin, Renin-angiotensin system, Renin


Hypertension is a common and major risk factor for the leading U.S. killer, cardiovascular disease.(1)-(5) Reducing excess dietary sodium can lower blood pressure, with a greater response among persons with hypertension.(6)-(9) Nine of 10 Americans consume excess dietary sodium, defined as more than 2300 mg per day.(10),(11) Many leading medical and public health organizations recommend reducing dietary sodium to a maximum of 2300 mg per day on the basis of evidence indicating a public health benefit.(11)-(17) Yet this benefit has been questioned, mainly on the basis of studies suggesting that low sodium intake is also associated . . .

Concepts: Medicine, Public health, Epidemiology, Myocardial infarction, Cardiovascular disease, Sodium, Potassium, Renin


The appropriate target for BP in patients with CKD and hypertension remains uncertain. We report prespecified subgroup analyses of outcomes in participants with baseline CKD in the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial. We randomly assigned participants to a systolic BP target of <120 mm Hg (intensive group; n=1330) or <140 mm Hg (standard group; n=1316). After a median follow-up of 3.3 years, the primary composite cardiovascular outcome occurred in 112 intensive group and 131 standard group CKD participants (hazard ratio [HR], 0.81; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.63 to 1.05). The intensive group also had a lower rate of all-cause death (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.99). Treatment effects did not differ between participants with and without CKD (P values for interactions ≥0.30). The prespecified main kidney outcome, defined as the composite of ≥50% decrease in eGFR from baseline or ESRD, occurred in 15 intensive group and 16 standard group participants (HR, 0.90; 95% CI, 0.44 to 1.83). After the initial 6 months, the intensive group had a slightly higher rate of change in eGFR (-0.47 versus -0.32 ml/min per 1.73 m(2) per year; P<0.03). The overall rate of serious adverse events did not differ between treatment groups, although some specific adverse events occurred more often in the intensive group. Thus, among patients with CKD and hypertension without diabetes, targeting an SBP<120 mm Hg compared with <140 mm Hg reduced rates of major cardiovascular events and all-cause death without evidence of effect modifications by CKD or deleterious effect on the main kidney outcome.

Concepts: Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Hypertension, Blood pressure, Renin