In patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), the accumulation of uremic toxins, caused by a combination of decreased excretion secondary to reduced kidney function and increased generation secondary to aberrant expression of metabolite genes, interferes with different biological functions of cells and organs, contributing to a state of chronic inflammation and other adverse biologic effects that may cause tissue damage. Several uremic toxins have been implicated in severe vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) changes and other alterations leading to vascular calcification (VC) and early vascular ageing (EVA). The above mentioned are predominant clinical features of patients with CKD, contributing to their exceptionally high cardiovascular mortality. Herein, we present an update on pathophysiological processes and mediators underlying VC and EVA induced by uremic toxins. Moreover, we discuss their clinical impact, and possible therapeutic targets aiming at preventing or ameliorating the harmful effects of uremic toxins on the vasculature.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; chronic kidney disease; uremic toxins; vascular calcification; vascular smooth muscle cells.