Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains a major cause of high morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Numerous CVD risk factors in CKD patients have been described, but these do not fully explain the high pervasiveness of CVD or increased mortality rates in CKD patients. In CKD the loss of urinary excretory function results in the retention of various substances referred to as "uremic retention solutes". Many of these molecules have been found to exert toxicity on virtually all organ systems of the human body, leading to the clinical syndrome of uremia. In recent years, an increasing body of evidence has been accumulated that suggests that uremic toxins may contribute to an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden associated with CKD. This review examined the evidence from several clinical and experimental studies showing an association between uremic toxins and CVD. Special emphasis is addressed on emerging data linking gut microbiota with the production of uremic toxins and the development of CKD and CVD. The biological toxicity of some uremic toxins on the myocardium and the vasculature and their possible contribution to cardiovascular injury in uremia are also discussed. Finally, various therapeutic interventions that have been applied to effectively reduce uremic toxins in patients with CKD, including dietary modifications, use of prebiotics and/or probiotics, an oral intestinal sorbent that adsorbs uremic toxins and precursors, and innovative dialysis therapies targeting the protein-bound uremic toxins are also highlighted. Future studies are needed to determine whether these novel therapies to reduce or remove uremic toxins will reduce CVD and related cardiovascular events in the long-term in patients with chronic renal failure.
Keywords: adsorbents; indoles; intestinal microbiota; microbiome; microbiota; p-cresyl sulfate; prebiotics; probiotics; synbiotics; trimethylamine-oxide; uremic toxicities; uremic toxins.