Diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to impaired renal function and even to complete kidney failure in the end. This is a life-threatening situation for the people concerned.
They need to undergo dialysis treatment regularly, but the artificial blood filtration can only replace about 10 percent of normal renal function. Therefore, dialysis patients cannot consider themselves out of danger until they receive a kidney transplant. Due to the scarce supply of donor organs, however, not everyone is fortunate enough to get a transplant.
Why is it that kidney failure has such fatal consequences? The reason lies in the fact that the waste products, which should be excreted from the body via the urine, then accumulate in the blood. This increases the risk of additional conditions, such as atherosclerosis (formation of plaques in the arteries), heart attacks and strokes.
Harmless urea gives rise to the generation of toxic cyanate
In patients with kidney disease, one of the substances accumulating in the blood is urea, an originally harmless metabolic waste product. "However, urea can be converted in the body to a toxic cyanate, which binds to the blood proteins," explains Christiane Drechsler, a medical scientist at the Department of Nephrology of the University Hospital of Würzburg.
The dangerous cyanate also binds to albumin, which is one of the most important blood proteins. This has drastic consequences: The carbamylated albumin – as the modified albumin is known by scientists – now tends to stick to defective parts in the blood vessels. This aggravates the process of atherosclerosis, thus further reducing the survival chances of dialysis patients.
Amino acids can decrease the risk
"We have found a significant correlation: A higher amount of carbamylated albumin in the blood is associated with reduced survival chances of the respective patients," says Christiane Drechsler. The concentration of the dangerous albumin, in turn, increases with decreasing amino acid levels in the blood. This is because cysteine, histidine, lysine and some other amino acids are obviously able to inhibit the formation of the "high-risk albumin" – as has also been demonstrated by the Würzburg scientists and their colleagues from Boston (USA). The study evaluated data on 1,255 dialysis patients.
Pilot study with 200 patients planned
The results are published in the current issue of the journal "Science Translational Medicine". They open up the prospect of a new therapeutic approach that might be used to increase the life expectancy of kidney and dialysis patients: The administration of amino acids as a preventive measure. "We are now going to determine whether this method works in a pilot study currently in preparation, involving about 200 dialysis patients," says Professor Christoph Wanner, who heads the Department of Nephrology at the University Hospital of Würzburg.
The three main application possibilities yielded by the study
The study of the Würzburg and Boston researchers not only points to a new way of improving the survival rates of dialysis patients. It also provides two further benefits, as Christiane Drechsler explains: "The carbamylated albumin is a suitable candidate to serve as a prognostic marker in diagnostics. Furthermore, it might become a marker for assessing the quality of dialysis treatment over prolonged periods of time – similar to the HbA1c-test for diabetics."
"Carbamylation of Serum Albumin as a Risk Factor for Mortality in Patients with Kidney Failure", Anders H. Berg, Christiane Drechsler, Julia Wenger, Roberto Buccafusca, Tammy Hod, Sahir Kalim, Wenda Ramma, Samir M. Parikh, Hanno Steen, David J. Friedman, John Danziger, Christoph Wanner, Ravi Thadhani, S. Ananth Karumanchi. Science Translational Medicine, 6 March 2013, Vol. 5 Issue 175, p. 175ra29, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005218
Dr. Dr. Christiane Drechsler, Department of Internal Medicine I, University Hospital of Würzburg, T (0931) 201-39972, firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Emmerich | Uni Würzburg
Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)
North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy