Endothelial function in proteinuric renal disease

Kidney Int Suppl. 1999 Jul;71:S57-61. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1755.1999.07115.x.


Nephrotic-range proteinuria is associated with a several-fold increase risk of cardiovascular infarction. This increased risk is accompanied by endothelial dysfunction, which is not related to increased blood pressure and is not correctable by acute administration of L-arginine. The latter is in direct contrast to what has been found in patients with primary hypercholesterolemia, suggesting that either hypoalbuminemia itself or other aspects of the dyslipidemia characteristic of the nephrotic syndrome impair endothelial function. Lysophosphatidylcholine (lyso-PC) is formed during oxidative modification of cholesterol, and lyso-PC in oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is responsible for reduced endothelial function in vitro. However, in the circulation, lyso-PC is tightly bound to albumin. Indeed, the addition of albumin can restore endothelial function, which was previously disturbed by lyso-PC. Hypoalbuminemia induces a shift in lyso-PC to lipoproteins, notably LDL, and to erythrocytes. The latter directly induces a reduction in deformability that can also be corrected by the addition of albumin. Hypoalbuminemia may disturb endothelial function, either by directly affecting Gi-protein-dependent signal transduction or indirectly by changing the configuration of the cell membrane. Such a change in cell membrane configuration will disturb binding of ligands to receptors and of endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase to caveolin. However, other pathways have been suggested, such as stimulation by lyso-PC of vasoconstriction mediated by protein kinase C. It remains to be shown whether lipid-lowering and antiproteinuric strategies have independent positive effects on endothelial function in nephrotic subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Proteinuria / physiopathology*