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      Inflammation and Atherosclerosis in End-Stage Renal Disease

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          Atherosclerosis is a multifaceted process which may be initiated by various insults to vascular endothelium. Independently of the nature of the offending factor, the endothelial dysfunction that results from the initial insult is characterized by increased adhesiveness of the endothelium to leukocytes and platelets and by the synthesis of vasoactive molecules, cytokines and procoagulant factors. This defensive response is characterized by classical inflammatory changes and may lead to plaque formation, luminal obstruction and plaque rupture. Factors involved in arterial damage in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) span from classical risk factors to disease-peculiar factors (anemia, secondary hyperparathyroidism and exposure to bioincompatible dialysis membranes and/or contaminated dialysis fluid) and to emerging and novel risk factors such as hyperhomocysteinemia, infections and accumulation of the endogenous inhibitor of NO synthase, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA). There is strong and consistent evidence that acute phase reactants like C-reactive protein and cytokines like IL-β, TNF-α and IL-6 are independently associated with death and atherosclerosis in ESRD patients. The experimental and epidemiological data collected thus far coherently show that endothelial dysfunction resulting from inflammation may promote abnormal vascular behavior and thrombosis in ESRD. There are several possible therapeutic approaches for reducing the risk excess associated with inflammation in ESRD. These possibilities range from drugs interfering with the angiotensin system or with adrenergic activity to anti-inflammatory and antilipid agents to vitamins, antioxidants, to the amino acid precursor of nitric oxide, L-arginine, and perhaps to antibiotics. The intellectual framework is well delineated but very few controlled trials have been performed or are underway in patients with ESRD.

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          Most cited references 9

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          Widespread coronary inflammation in unstable angina.

          Inflammation within vulnerable coronary plaques may cause unstable angina by promoting rupture and erosion. In unstable angina, activated leukocytes may be found in peripheral and coronary-sinus blood, but it is unclear whether they are selectively activated in the vascular bed of the culprit stenosis. We measured the content neutrophil myeloperoxidase content in the cardiac and femoral circulations in five groups of patients: two groups with unstable angina and stenosis in either the left anterior descending coronary artery (24 patients) or the right coronary artery (9 patients); 13 with chronic stable angina; 13 with variant angina and recurrent ischemia; and 6 controls. Blood samples were taken from the aorta, the femoral vein, and the great cardiac vein, which selectively drains blood from the left but not the right coronary artery. The neutrophil myeloperoxidase content of aortic blood was similar in both groups of patients with unstable angina (-3.9 and -5.5, with negative values representing depletion of the enzyme due to neutrophil activation) and significantly lower than in the other three groups (P<0.05). Independently of the site of the stenosis, the neutrophil myeloperoxidase content in blood from the great cardiac vein was significantly decreased in both groups of patients with unstable angina (-6.4 in those with a left coronary lesion and -6.6 in those with a right coronary lesion), but not in patients with stable angina and multiple stenoses, patients with variant angina and recurrent ischemia, or controls. There was also a significant transcoronary reduction in myeloperoxidase content in both groups with unstable angina. The widespread activation of neutrophils across the coronary vascular bed in patients with unstable angina, regardless of the location of the culprit stenosis, challenges the concept of a single vulnerable plaque in unstable coronary syndromes.
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            Plasma norepinephrine predicts survival and incident cardiovascular events in patients with end-stage renal disease.

            Sympathetic tone is consistently raised in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). We therefore tested the hypothesis that sympathetic activation is associated with mortality and cardiovascular events in a cohort of 228 patients undergoing chronic hemodialysis who did not have congestive heart failure at baseline and who had left ventricular ejection fraction >35%. The plasma concentration of norepinephrine (NE) was used as a measure of sympathetic activity. Plasma NE exceeded the upper limit of the normal range (cutoff 3.54 nmol/L) in 102 dialysis patients (45%). In a multivariate Cox regression model that included all univariate predictors of death as well as the use of sympathicoplegic agents and beta-blockers, plasma NE proved to be an independent predictor of this outcome (hazard ratio [1-nmol/L increase in plasma NE]: 1.07, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.14, P=0.03). Similarly, plasma NE emerged as an independent predictor of fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events (hazard ratio [1-nmol/L increase in plasma NE] 1.08, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.15, P=0.01) in a model that included previous cardiovascular events, pulse pressure, age, diabetes, smoking, and use of sympathicoplegic agents and beta-blockers. The adjusted relative risk for cardiovascular complications in patients with plasma NE >75th percentile was 1.92 (95% CI 1.20 to 3.07) times higher than in those below this threshold (P=0.006). Sympathetic nerve overactivity is associated with mortality and cardiovascular outcomes in ESRD. Controlled trials with antiadrenergic drugs are needed to determine whether interference with the sympathetic system could reduce the high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in dialysis patients.
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              Plasma concentration of asymmetrical dimethylarginine and mortality in patients with end-stage renal disease: a prospective study


                Author and article information

                Blood Purif
                Blood Purification
                S. Karger AG
                22 January 2003
                : 21
                : 1
                : 29-36
                Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) – IBM, Laboratorio CNR di Epidemiologia Clinica e Fisiopatologia delle Malattie Renali e dell’Ipertensione Arteriosa, Ospedali Riuniti, Reggio Calabria, Italia
                67852 Blood Purif 2003;21:29–36
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Figures: 2, References: 55, Pages: 8
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