Heart-kidney crosstalk and role of humoral signaling in critical illness

Crit Care. 2014 Jan 6;18(1):201. doi: 10.1186/cc13177.


Organ failure in the heart or kidney can initiate various complex metabolic, cell-mediated and humoral pathways affecting distant organs, contributing to the high therapeutic costs and significantly higher morbidity and mortality. The universal outreach of cells in an injured state has myriad consequences to distant organ cells and their milieu. Heart performance and kidney function are closely interconnected and communication between these organs occurs through a variety of bidirectional pathways. The term cardiorenal syndrome (CRS) is often used to describe this condition and represents an important model for exploring the pathophysiology of cardiac and renal dysfunction. Clinical evidence suggests that tissue injury in both acute kidney injury and heart failure has immune-mediated inflammatory consequences that can initiate remote organ dysfunction. Acute cardiorenal syndrome (CRS type 1) and acute renocardiac syndrome (CRS type 3) are particularly relevant in high-acuity medical units. This review briefly summarizes relevant research and focuses on the role of signaling in heart-kidney crosstalk in the critical care setting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / physiopathology*
  • Apoptosis
  • Cardio-Renal Syndrome* / classification
  • Cardio-Renal Syndrome* / physiopathology
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena
  • Critical Illness
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology