Systematic review of structural and functional neuroimaging findings in children and adults with CKD

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013 Aug;8(8):1429-48. doi: 10.2215/CJN.11601112. Epub 2013 May 30.


CKD has been linked with cognitive deficits and affective disorders in multiple studies. Analysis of structural and functional neuroimaging in adults and children with kidney disease may provide additional important insights into the pathobiology of this relationship. This paper comprehensively reviews neuroimaging studies in both children and adults. Major databases (PsychLit, MEDLINE, WorldCat, ArticleFirst, PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE) were searched using consistent search terms, and studies published between 1975 and 2012 were included if their samples focused on CKD as the primary disease process. Exclusion criteria included case reports, chapters, and review articles. This systematic process yielded 43 studies for inclusion (30 in adults, 13 in children). Findings from this review identified several clear trends: (1) presence of cerebral atrophy and cerebral density changes in patients with CKD; (2) cerebral vascular disease, including deep white matter hyperintensities, white matter lesions, cerebral microbleeds, silent cerebral infarction, and cortical infarction, in patients with CKD; and (3) similarities in regional cerebral blood flow between patients with CKD and those with affective disorders. These findings document the importance of neuroimaging procedures in understanding the effect of CKD on brain structure, function, and associated behaviors. Results provide a developmental linkage between childhood and adulthood, with respect to the effect of CKD on brain functioning across the lifespan, with strong implications for a cerebrovascular mechanism contributing to this developmental linkage. Use of neuroimaging methods to corroborate manifest neuropsychological deficits or perhaps to indicate preventive actions may prove useful to individuals with CKD.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Child
  • Functional Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / pathology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed