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      Pathogenesis of Cerebral Atrophy in Uraemia

      Nephron

      S. Karger AG

      Cerebral atrophy, uraemia, Haemodialysis, cerebral atrophy, Uraemia, morphological changes of CNS

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          Abstract

          This paper discusses the possible pathogenesis of the cerebral atrophy (CA) observed in a large percentage of uraemic patients, taking the form of prevalently cortical damage (cortical atrophy) and/or subcortical enlargement of ventricular cavities (subcortical atrophy). This central nervous system pathology seems to share very little either with the better known ‘dialysis encephalopathy’ or with the ‘acute encephalopathy syndrome’, even though sporadic cases of both these forms have shown concomitant CA. Histopathologically it offers the picture of loss of neurons and nerve fibres and can thus be compared with uraemic peripheral nervous system damage. CA is unquestionably important because of its implications in terms of impairment of superior cortical functions, just as in CA of non-uraemic aetiology. A first aetiopathogenic hypothesis might include endogenous uraemic intoxication to the nerve tissue, believed responsible for peripheral uraemic neuropathy, but other possibilities merit consideration: vascular calcification secondary to hyperparathyroidism, blood lipid disorders, and systemic hypertension – factors that contribute to impairing the brain vasculature, with cascade effects on brain tissue oxygenation, neuronal metabolism, and energy exchanges. Tissue oxygenation is already jeopardized in the uraemic patient by the concomitant chronic anaemia and by cardiac insufficiency in cases with hypertensive heart disease. In dialysis patients with volume-dependent hypertension the brain may be further damaged by abrupt pressure changes produced by dialytic ultrafiltration; these constitute a severe challenge to cerebral blood flow autoregulation. Cyclic variations of brain tissue hydration connected with regular dialysis treatment may have adverse effects on neurotransmitter functions, particularly those mediated by neuropeptidergic systems. Chronic intoxication may result from oral A1(OH)<sub>3</sub> of phosphorus-chelating agents: in animal studies and clinical observations in non-uraemic populations the neurotoxic potential of A1 is indicated by a significant correlation between histological neuronal damage, impaired function, and A1 concentration in brain tissues. In addition, a concausal role of malnutrition in central nervous system damage in the uraemic patient cannot be overlooked, since malnutrition is known to give rise to functional and structural alterations in non-uraemic human pathology. In the light of these clinical observations and experimental findings, it would appear that the prevention of CA in uraemia is today feasible.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          NEF
          Nephron
          10.1159/issn.1660-8151
          Nephron
          S. Karger AG
          1660-8151
          2235-3186
          1988
          1988
          09 December 2008
          : 49
          : 2
          : 94-103
          Affiliations
          Istituto di Clinica Medica e Nefrologia, Università degli Studi, Parma, Italia
          Article
          185032 Nephron 1988;49:94–103
          10.1159/000185032
          3288891
          © 1988 S. Karger AG, Basel

          Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

          Page count
          Pages: 10
          Categories
          Original Paper

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