Uremic toxins in chronic kidney disease highlight a fundamental gap in understanding their detrimental effects on cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmogenesis

Willem B van Ham, Carlijn M Cornelissen, Toon A B van Veen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) have an estimated 700-800 and 523 million cases worldwide, respectively, with CVD being the leading cause of death in CKD patients. The pathophysiological interplay between the heart and kidneys is defined as the cardiorenal syndrome (CRS), in which worsening of kidney function is represented by increased plasma concentrations of uremic toxins (UTs), culminating in dialysis patients. As there is a high incidence of CVD in CKD patients, accompanied by arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death, knowledge on electrophysiological remodeling would be instrumental for understanding the CRS. While the interplay between both organs is clearly of importance in CRS, the involvement of UTs in pro-arrhythmic remodeling is only poorly investigated, especially regarding the mechanistic background. Currently, the clinical approach against potential arrhythmic events is mainly restricted to symptom treatment, stressing the need for fundamental research on UT in relation to electrophysiology. This review addresses the existing knowledge of UTs and cardiac electrophysiology, and the experimental research gap between fundamental research and clinical research of the CRS. Clinically, mainly absorbents like ibuprofen and AST-120 are studied, which show limited safe and efficient usability. Experimental research shows disturbances in cardiac electrical activation and conduction after inducing CKD or exposure to UTs, but are scarcely present or focus solely on already well-investigated UTs. Based on UTs data derived from CKD patient cohort studies, a clinically relevant overview of physiological and pathological UTs concentrations is created. Using this, future experimental research is stimulated to involve electrophysiologically translatable animals, such as rabbits, or in vitro engineered heart tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13888
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalActa physiologica (Oxford, England)
Volume236
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • cardiac electrophysiology
  • cardiorenal syndrome
  • chronic kidney disease
  • uremic toxins

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