A pinboard by
Hui Liew

Renal Research Fellow, Monash University


Patients with kidney disease have disorders of their blood vessels. It has recently been discovered that all blood vessels are lined by the endothelial glycocalyx (EG). This mesh-like layer plays important roles in maintaining the health of the circulation and has been shown to be damaged in various conditions. In kidney disease, damage to this layer is linked with disorders of the blood vessels. Therefore we think the EG may be a new marker of blood vessel damage, and EG damage may be linked with disordered blood vessel function. We studied healthy participants (with normal kidney function), people with chronic kidney disease, and people who have had kidney transplants. We compared their EG levels and their markers of blood vessel function. We found that people who have chronic kidney disease have higher levels of EG damage and abnormal blood vessel function compared to healthy participants and to those who have had a kidney transplant. We also found that damage to the EG correlates with markers of abnormal blood vessel function. Therefore, the EG is an important marker of blood vessel damage in kidney disease.


Damage of the endothelial glycocalyx in chronic kidney disease.

Abstract: The endothelial glycocalyx (eGC), a mesh of anionic biopolymers covering the luminal surface of endothelial cells, is considered as an intravascular compartment that protects the vessel wall against pathogenic insults in cardiovascular disease. We hypothesized that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with reduced eGC integrity and subsequent endothelial dysfunction.Shedding of two major components of the eGC, namely syndecan-1 (Syn-1) and hyaluronan (HA), was measured by ELISA in 95 patients with CKD (stages 3-5) and 31 apparently healthy controls. Plasma levels of Syn-1 and HA increased steadily across CKD stages (5- and 5.5-fold, respectively P < 0.001) and were independently associated with impaired renal function after multivariate adjustment. Furthermore, Syn-1 and HA correlated tightly with plasma markers of endothelial dysfunction such as soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt-1), soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), von-Willebrand-Factor (vWF) and angiopoietin-2 (P < 0.001). Experimentally, excessive shedding of the eGC, evidenced by 11-fold increased Syn-1 plasma levels, was also observed in an established rat model of CKD, the 5/6-nephrectomized rats. Consistently, an atomic force microscopy-based approach evidenced a significant decrease in eGC thickness (360 ± 79 vs. 157 ± 29 nm, P = 0.001) and stiffness (0.33 ± 0.02 vs. 0.22 ± 0.01 pN/nm, P < 0.001) of aorta endothelial cell explants isolated from CKD rats.Our findings provide evidence for damage of the atheroprotective eGC as a consequence of CKD and potentially open a new avenue to pathophysiology and treatment of cardiovascular disease in renal patients.

Pub.: 15 Apr '14, Pinned: 26 Aug '17

Association of kidney function with changes in the endothelial surface layer.

Abstract: ESRD is accompanied by endothelial dysfunction. Because the endothelial glycocalyx (endothelial surface layer) governs interactions between flowing blood and the vessel wall, perturbation could influence disease progression. This study used a novel noninvasive sidestream-darkfield imaging method, which measures the accessibility of red blood cells to the endothelial surface layer in the microcirculation (perfused boundary region), to investigate whether renal function is associated with endothelial surface layer dimensions.Perfused boundary region was measured in control participants (n=10), patients with ESRD (n=23), participants with normal kidney function after successful living donor kidney transplantation (n=12), and patients who developed interstitial fibrosis/tubular atrophy after kidney transplantation (n=10). In addition, the endothelial activation marker angiopoietin-2 and shed endothelial surface layer components syndecan-1 and soluble thrombomodulin were measured using ELISA.Compared with healthy controls (1.82 ± 0.16 µm), ESRD patients had a larger perfused boundary region (+0.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.46 to <0.01; P<0.05), which signifies loss of endothelial surface layer dimensions. This large perfused boundary region was accompanied by higher circulating levels of syndecan-1 (+57.71; 95% confidence interval, 17.38 to 98.04; P<0.01) and soluble thrombomodulin (+12.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.29 to 25.46; P<0.001). After successful transplantation, the perfused boundary region was indistinguishable from healthy controls (without elevated levels of soluble thrombomodulin or syndecan-1). In contrast, however, patients who developed interstitial fibrosis and tubular atrophy showed a large perfused boundary region (+0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.09 to 0.63; P<0.01) and higher levels of endothelial activation markers. In addition, a significant correlation between perfused boundary region, angiopoietin-2, and eGFR was observed (perfused boundary region versus GFR: Spearman's ρ=0.31; P<0.05; perfused boundary region versus angiopoietin-2: Spearman's ρ=-0.33; P<0.05).Reduced renal function is strongly associated with low endothelial surface layer dimensions. After successful kidney transplantation, the endothelial surface layer is indistinguishable from control.

Pub.: 25 Jan '14, Pinned: 24 Aug '17