Protective Role of Histidine Supplementation Against Oxidative Stress Damage in the Management of Anemia of Chronic Kidney Disease

Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2018 Oct 21;11(4):111. doi: 10.3390/ph11040111.


Anemia is a major health condition associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD). A key underlying cause of this disorder is iron deficiency. Although intravenous iron treatment can be beneficial in correcting CKD-associated anemia, surplus iron can be detrimental and cause complications. Excessive generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), particularly by mitochondria, leads to tissue oxidation and damage to DNA, proteins, and lipids. Oxidative stress increase in CKD has been further implicated in the pathogenesis of vascular calcification. Iron supplementation leads to the availability of excess free iron that is toxic and generates ROS that is linked, in turn, to inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and cardiovascular disease. Histidine is indispensable to uremic patients because of the tendency toward negative plasma histidine levels. Histidine-deficient diets predispose healthy subjects to anemia and accentuate anemia in chronic uremic patients. Histidine is essential in globin synthesis and erythropoiesis and has also been implicated in the enhancement of iron absorption from human diets. Studies have found that L-histidine exhibits antioxidant capabilities, such as scavenging free radicals and chelating divalent metal ions, hence the advocacy for its use in improving oxidative stress in CKD. The current review advances and discusses evidence for iron-induced toxicity in CKD and the mechanisms by which histidine exerts cytoprotective functions.

Keywords: anemia; histidine; iron; kidney; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review