Preliminary study of hypoxia-related cardiovascular mediator-markers in patients with end-stage renal disease with and without diabetes and the effects of haemodialysis

Andrew Treweeke, Jennifer Hall, Stuart Lambie, Stephen J Leslie, Ian Megson, Sandra MacRury

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Evidence points to activation of pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic stimuli during the haemodialysis process in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) with potential to predispose to cardiovascular events. Diabetes is associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease in haemodialysis patients. We tested the hypothesis that a range of mediators and markers that modulate cardiovascular risk are elevated in haemodialysis patients with diabetes compared to those without.

Men and women with diabetes (n = 6) and without diabetes (n = 6) aged 18–90 years receiving haemodialysis were recruited. Blood samples were collected and analysed pre- and post-haemodialysis sessions for (platelet-monocyte conjugates (PMC), oxidised LDL (Ox-LDL), endothelin 1 (ET-1) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A).

PMC levels significantly increased after haemodialysis in both groups (diabetes p = 0.047; non-diabetes p = 0.005). Baseline VEGF-A was significantly higher in people with diabetes (p = 0.009) and post-dialysis levels were significantly reduced in both groups (P = 0.002). Ox-LDL and CRP concentrations were not significantly different between groups nor affected in either group post-dialysis. Similarly, ET-1 concentrations were comparable in all patients at baseline, with no change post-dialysis in either group.

In this pilot study, we have confirmed that circulating PMCs are increased following dialysis irrespective of diabetes status. This is likely to be a mechanistic process and offers a potential explanation for high rates of vascular events associated with haemodialysis. The higher VEGF-A concentrations between patients with and without diabetes is a previously unreported finding in diabetic ESRD. Further research is merited to establish whether VEGF-A is a marker or mediator (or both) of cardiovascular risk in haemodialysis.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0178171
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2017


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