Beta-2 microglobulin in ESRD: an in-depth review

Adv Ren Replace Ther. 2003 Oct;10(4):279-309. doi: 10.1053/j.arrt.2003.11.003.


Beta-2 microglobulin is the most widely studied low-molecular-weight protein in end-stage renal disease. It is known to cause dialysis-related amyloidosis (DRA), by virtue of its retention when renal function fails, its deposition in tissues, its aggregation into fibrils, and its ability to become glycosylated. The onset of DRA may be protracted by the use of noncellulosic membranes, especially when high-volume hemodiafiltration is used in the treatment of renal failure. Adsorptive methods have been developed to improve the removal of beta-2 microglobulin. There seems to be a relative risk reduction in mortality when patients are treated with dialysis membranes that have a higher clearance of beta-2 microglobulin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amyloidosis / etiology
  • Amyloidosis / metabolism
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / urine
  • Kinetics
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects
  • Renal Dialysis / methods
  • Uremia / complications
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / metabolism*


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • beta 2-Microglobulin