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Journal: Kidney international


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


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


Mutations in the inverted formin 2 gene (INF2) have recently been identified as the most common cause of autosomal dominant focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). To quantify the contribution of various genes contributing to FSGS, we sequenced INF2 where all mutations have previously been described (exons 2 to 5) in a total of 215 probands and 281 sporadic individuals with FSGS, along with other known genes accounting for autosomal dominant FSGS (ACTN4, TRPC6, and CD2AP) in 213 probands. Variants were classified as disease-causing if they altered the amino acid sequence and if they were not found in control samples and in families segregated with disease. Mutations in INF2 were found in a total of 20 of the 215 families (including those previously reported) in our cohort of autosomal dominant familial nephrotic syndrome or FSGS, thereby explaining disease in 9%. INF2 mutations were found in 2 of 281 individuals with sporadic FSGS. In contrast, ACTN4- and TRPC6-related diseases accounted for 3 and 2% of our familial cohort, respectively. INF2-related disease showed variable penetrance, with onset of disease ranging widely from childhood to adulthood, and commonly leading to end-stage renal disease in the third and fourth decade of life. Thus, mutations in INF2 are a more common, although still a minor, monogenic cause of familial FSGS when compared with other known autosomal dominant genes associated with FSGS.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Kidney, Genetics, Amino acid, Nephrotic syndrome, Sequence, Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis


Although case reports link proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) use and hypomagnesemia, no large-scale studies have been conducted. Here we examined the serum magnesium concentration and the likelihood of hypomagnesemia (<1.6 mg/dl) with a history of PPI or histamine-2 receptor antagonist used to reduce gastric acid, or use of neither among 11,490 consecutive adult admissions to an intensive care unit of a tertiary medical center. Of these, 2632 patients reported PPI use prior to admission, while 657 patients were using a histamine-2 receptor antagonist. PPI use was associated with 0.012 mg/dl lower adjusted serum magnesium concentration compared to users of no acid-suppressive medications, but this effect was restricted to those patients taking diuretics. Among the 3286 patients concurrently on diuretics, PPI use was associated with a significant increase of hypomagnesemia (odds ratio 1.54) and 0.028 mg/dl lower serum magnesium concentration. Among those not using diuretics, PPI use was not associated with serum magnesium levels. Histamine-2 receptor antagonist use was not significantly associated with magnesium concentration without or with diuretic use. The use of PPI was not associated with serum phosphate concentration regardless of diuretic use. Thus, we verify case reports of the association between PPI use and hypomagnesemia in those concurrently taking diuretics. Hence, serum magnesium concentrations should be followed in susceptible individuals on chronic PPI therapy.Kidney International advance online publication, 16 January 2013; doi:10.1038/ki.2012.452.

Concepts: Receptor, Phosphate, Receptor antagonist, Diuretic, Hypomagnesemia


Morphological changes that occur during kidney injury involve actin skeleton remodeling. Here we tested whether heat-shock protein 27 (HSP27), a small stress response protein involved in cytoskeletal remodeling, protects the kidney from tubulointerstitial fibrosis in obstructive nephropathy. Tubular cell HSP27 immunostaining was significantly increased in human kidneys with ureteropelvic junction obstruction, supporting the clinical relevance of our studies. To develop an animal model for mechanistic studies, we generated transgenic mice that specifically overexpress human HSP27 in renal tubules, under the kidney androgen-regulated protein promoter, and determined the effects of HSP27 overexpression on epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and tubulointerstitial fibrosis following unilateral ureteral obstruction. This was associated with decreased fibrogenesis as evidenced by significant declines in phosphorylated p38MAPK, collagen III, α-smooth muscle actin, 4-hydroxynonenal, and reduced trichrome staining following obstruction. Notably, E-cadherin and β-catenin remained at the cell membrane of tubular cells in transgenic mice with an obstructed ureter. Monocyte/macrophage infiltration, however, was not significantly affected in these transgenic mice. Thus, tubular HSP27 inhibits fibrogenesis in obstructive nephropathy. Further studies are needed to determine pathways regulating the interactions between HSP27 and the E-cadherin-β-catenin complex.

Concepts: Protein, Kidney, Gene, Gene expression, Urinary bladder, Ureter, Actin, Renal artery


The treatment of hyponatremia, an exceedingly common electrolyte disorder, has been a subject of controversy for many years. The advent of vasopressin antagonists (vaptans) has added to the treatment arsenal. This review focuses on why hyponatremia should be treated and the role of these antagonists in the treatment. Upon analysis of the available literature, we conclude that there is presently no role for vaptans in acute symptomatic hyponatremia. Although numerous therapeutic approaches are available for chronic symptomatic hyponatremia, vasopressin antagonists provide a simpler treatment option. Vaptans are efficacious in raising serum sodium in long-standing ‘asymptomatic’ hyponatremia. However, the cost of the only Food and Drug Administration-approved oral agent (tolvaptan) makes its use prohibitive for most patients in this setting.Kidney International advance online publication, 19 December 2012; doi:10.1038/ki.2012.402.

Concepts: Chronic, Vasopressin, Sodium, Acute, Hyponatremia, 2012, 2012 phenomenon, Advent


The mode of renin release from renal juxtaglomerular cells into circulation is still unsolved in several aspects. Here we studied the intracellular organization of renin-storage vesicles and their changes during controlled stimulation of renin release. This was accomplished using isolated perfused mouse kidneys with 3-dimensional electron microscopic analyses of renin-producing cells. Renin was found to be stored in a network of single granules and cavern-like structures, and dependent on the synthesis of glycosylated prorenin. Acute stimulation of renin release led to increased exocytosis in combination with intracellular fusion of vesicles to larger caverns and their subsequent emptying. Renin release from the kidneys of SCID-beige mice, which contain few but gigantic renin-storage vesicles, was no different from that of kidneys from wild-type mice. Thus, our findings suggest that renin is released by mechanisms similar to compound exocytosis.Kidney International advance online publication, 12 December 2012; doi:10.1038/ki.2012.392.

Concepts: Kidney, Gene, Glucose, Cell membrane, Nephron, Renin, Juxtaglomerular cell, Juxtaglomerular apparatus


Hyponatremia is a common electrolyte disorder associated with increased morbidity and mortality, particularly in the elderly. Lixivaptan, a new selective vasopressin V2-receptor antagonist, safely corrected serum sodium concentrations in phase II studies of patients with euvolemic hyponatremia. Here our multinational, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase III study assessed the effect of lixivaptan on serum sodium concentrations in 106 initially hospitalized patients with euvolemic hyponatremia (serum sodium less than 130 mmol/l). Of them, 52 were randomized to receive placebo and 54 received 50 mg lixivaptan once daily and were then titrated to receive 25-100 mg once daily depending on serum sodium concentration. Fluid restriction was at the investigator’s discretion. Initial titration occurred in a monitored inpatient setting; patients were then treated as outpatients for a total of 30 days. The primary end point was the change in serum sodium concentration from baseline to day 7. Lixivaptan significantly increased the serum sodium concentration from baseline to day 7 (the primary end point) by 6.7 mmol/l compared with placebo (4.5 mmol/l; P=0.034). Importantly, the serum sodium concentration was normalized safely and more rapidly in patients receiving lixivaptan than placebo (P=0.004) and was well tolerated. After drug discontinuation, serum sodium concentrations decreased to near-baseline levels within 7 days. Thus, lixivaptan safely and effectively corrects serum sodium concentrations in patients with euvolemic hyponatremia.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Medical terms, Electrochemistry, Chemistry, Sodium, Serum sodium, Hyponatremia, Phase diagram


The long-term survival for many chronic kidney failure patients who remain treated by dialysis in economically advanced countries remains similar to that of those with solid-organ malignancy, despite a disproportionate amount of health-care expenditure. As such, the current paradigm of three times weekly in-center hemodialysis for 4 h or shorter sessions needs to change to improve patient outcomes. Although more frequent and longer dialysis sessions have been reported to improve cardiovascular risk surrogates and short-term outcomes, these options are only practically available to a very small fraction of the total dialysis population. As such, radically new approaches are required to improve patient outcomes and quality of life for the majority of dialysis patients. Currently, two different approaches are being developed, wearable devices based on current dialysis techniques and more futuristic implantable devices modeled on the natural nephron.Kidney International advance online publication, 13 February 2013; doi:10.1038/ki.2012.466.

Concepts: Time, Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Dialysis, Hemodialysis, Artificial kidney


Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is marked by gradual renal cyst and kidney enlargement and ultimately renal failure. Magnetic resonance-based, height-adjusted total kidney volume (htTKV) over 600 cc/m predicts the development of CKD stage 3 within 8 years in the Consortium for Radiologic Imaging in Polycystic Kidney Disease cohort. Here we compared simultaneous ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging to determine whether ultrasound and kidney length (KL) predict future CKD stage 3 over longer periods of follow-up. A total of 241 ADPKD patients, 15-46 years, with creatinine clearance of 70 ml/min and above had iothalamate clearance, magnetic resonance, and ultrasound evaluations. Participants underwent an average of five repeat clearance measurements over a mean follow-up of 9.3 years. Ultrasound and magnetic resonance-based TKV and KL were compared using Bland-Altman plots and intraclass correlations. Each measure was tested to predict future CKD stage 3. Relatively strong intraclass correlations between ultrasound and magnetic resonance were found for both htTKV and KL (0.81 and 0.85, respectively). Ultrasound and magnetic resonance-based htTKV and KL predicted future CKD stage 3 similarly (AUC of 0.87, 0.88, 0.87, and 0.88, respectively). An ultrasound kidney length over 16.5 cm and htTKV over 650 ml/min had the best cut point for predicting the development of CKD stage 3. Thus, kidney length alone is sufficient to stratify the risk of progression to renal insufficiency early in ADPKD using either ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging.Kidney International advance online publication, 1 April 2015; doi:10.1038/ki.2015.71.

Concepts: Renal failure, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Nephrology, Hypertension, Prediction, Magnetic resonance imaging, Polycystic kidney disease