Indole-3 acetic acid increased risk of impaired cognitive function in patients receiving hemodialysis

Neurotoxicology. 2019 Jul:73:85-91. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2019.02.019. Epub 2019 Feb 28.


Patients receiving hemodialysis (HD) have a higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia than the general population. The accumulation of uremic toxins in the brain causes uremic encephalopathy, however, limited data exists to elucidate the effect of protein-bound uremic toxins on cognitive function. Here we investigate the effect of indole-3 acetic acid (IAA) and hippuric acid (HA), two different protein-bound uremic toxins from amino acid derivatives, on cognitive function by Silico and in a clinical study. Prevalent HD patients were enrolled in two independent hospitals. Serum IAA and HA were measured using mass spectrometry. Cognitive performance was measured using Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI) by trained psychologists. Using silico data to predict the effect of blood-brain barrier penetration was performed. The silico data demonstrated that IAA and HA had positive blood-brain barrier penetration ability. Amongst the 230 HD patients, serum IAA was associated with poor MMSE score (β= -0.90, 95% CI -1.61 to -0.19) and poor CASI score (β= -3.29, 95% CI -5.69 to -0.88) in stepwise multiple linear regression analysis. In logistic regression model, Serum IAA was also associated with cognitive impairment based on MMSE definition (OR, 1.96, 95% CI 1.10, 3.5) and CASI definition (OR, 2.09, 95% CI 1.21, 3.61). There was no correlation between Serum HA levels and cognitive function status. In conclusion, IAA, not HA, was associated with cognitive impairment in HD patients. Further large scale and prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease; Cognitive function; Dementia; Hemodialysis; Indole-3 acetic acid.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Cognition*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / metabolism
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology
  • Female
  • Hippurates / blood
  • Humans
  • Indoleacetic Acids / blood*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / blood
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis* / adverse effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uremia / blood
  • Uremia / complications
  • Uremia / diagnosis
  • Uremia / therapy*


  • Biomarkers
  • Hippurates
  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • indoleacetic acid
  • hippuric acid