Oxidative stress in uremia: nature, mechanisms, and potential consequences

Semin Nephrol. 2004 Sep;24(5):469-73. doi: 10.1016/j.semnephrol.2004.06.026.


Oxidative stress has emerged as a constant feature of chronic renal failure (CRF). The presence of oxidative stress in CRF is evidenced by an overabundance of lipid, carbohydrate, and protein oxidation products in the plasma and tissues of uremic patients and animals. We recently have shown that oxidative stress in CRF animals is associated with and, in part, owing to up-regulation of superoxide-producing enzyme, nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NAD(P)H) oxidase, and down-regulation of superoxide dismutase (SOD). The functional significance of these findings was confirmed by favorable response to administration of the cell-permeable SOD-mimetic agent, tempol, in CRF rats. Oxidative stress in CRF plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the associated hypertension (oxidation of NO and arachidonic acid and vascular remodeling), cardiovascular disease (oxidation of lipoproteins, atherogenesis), neurologic disorders (nitration of brain proteins, oxidation of myelin), anemia (reduction of erythrocyte lifespan), inflammation (nuclear factor kappa B activation), fibrosis, apoptosis, and accelerated aging. The CRF-induced oxidative stress is aggravated by diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension, and autoimmune diseases, which independently increase production of reactive oxygen intermediates, and frequently are associated with CRF. In addition, dialysis treatment (blood interaction with dialyzer membrane and dialysate impurities), acute and chronic infections (blood access infection, hepatitis, and so forth), and excessive parenteral iron administration intensify CRF-associated oxidative stress and its adverse consequences in patients with end-stage renal disease. The problem is compounded by limited intake of fresh fruits and vegetables (K(+) restriction), which contain numerous natural phytochemicals and antioxidant vitamins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress* / drug effects
  • Uremia / complications
  • Uremia / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants