Alteration in plasma antioxidant capacities in chronic renal failure and hemodialysis patients: a possible explanation for the increased cardiovascular risk in these patients

Cardiovasc Res. 2000 Aug 18;47(3):618-23. doi: 10.1016/s0008-6363(00)00117-6.


Objective: The high incidence of cardiovascular diseases in chronic renal failure (CRF) and hemodialyzed (HD) patients is now well established and the involvement of oxidative stress has been hypothesized in these phenomena. The aim of our study was to evaluate the level of oxidative stress in healthy controls (CTL) compared with CRF and HD patients before (pre-HD) and after (post-HD) the dialysis session, carried out on a high biocompatible polyacrylonitrile membrane AN69.

Methods: Several indicators of the extracellular redox status were evaluated in plasma. The ascorbyl free radical (AFR) was directly measured using electron spin resonance spectroscopy (ESR) and expressed with respect to the vitamin C level to obtain a direct index of oxidative stress. Indirect plasma parameters such as vitamin E, thiol and uric acid levels were also quantified. The plasma antioxidant status (PAS) was evaluated by the allophycocyanin test. Nitric oxide (NO) stable-end metabolites: nitrites and nitrates (NO(x)), were measured in plasma.

Results: In CRF patients, vitamin C and thiol levels were low, and the AFR/vitamin C ratio high compared with the CTL. On the other hand, PAS and uric acid levels were shown to be higher in CRF patients. After the dialysis session, vitamin C level decreased and AFR/vitamin C ratio increased. The thiol levels were shown to be increased, in return PAS and uric acid levels were significantly lower after the dialysis session. NO(x) levels rose during CRF, but were significantly decreased after the dialysis procedure. No differences in vitamin E status were observed between CTL, CRF and HD patients.

Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that profound disturbances in the extracellular redox system occur during the course of chronic renal failure and hemodialysis, and may provide an explanation for the cardiovascular complications in these patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antioxidants / analysis*
  • Ascorbic Acid / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Female
  • Free Radicals / analysis
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrates / blood
  • Nitric Oxide / blood
  • Nitrites / blood
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / analysis
  • Uric Acid / blood
  • Vitamin E / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Vitamin E
  • Uric Acid
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Cholesterol
  • Ascorbic Acid