Mechanisms of hypoalbuminemia in hemodialysis patients

Kidney Int. 1995 Aug;48(2):510-6. doi: 10.1038/ki.1995.321.


Hypoalbuminemia is the most powerful predictor of mortality in end-stage renal disease. Since protein-calorie malnutrition can decrease albumin synthesis it is assumed that hypoalbuminemia results principally from malnutrition in these patients, but albumin synthesis may also be decreased as part of the acute-phase response, and hypoalbuminemia can also result from redistribution of albumin pools or from albumin losses. We measured albumin synthesis, fractional catabolic rate, and distribution from the turnover of [125I] human albumin in six hemodialysis patients with plasma albumin less than 35 mg/ml and in six patients with plasma albumin greater than 40 mg/ml. Patients with liver disease, HIV, or other infection were excluded. Both groups were maintained with high-flux polysulfone dialyzers for more than three months. Kt/Vurea and PCR were measured during each dialysis (N = 12 to 18/patient). A four-day calorie and protein intake was determined by dietary history and long-term nutritional status was determined anthropometrically. Measured variables included serum urea, creatinine, transferrin, and the positive acute-phase proteins alpha 2- macroglobulin, C-reactive protein, ferritin, and IGF-1. Albumin synthesis was significantly reduced in the low albumin group. There were no differences in dietary intake, body composition, PCR, BUN, creatinine, or Kt/Vurea. Plasma albumin concentration correlated negatively with ferritin, C-reactive protein and alpha 2-macroglobulin. Albumin synthesis rate correlated negatively with both alpha 2-macroglobulin and Kt/Vurea. Both plasma albumin concentration and synthesis rate correlated positively with IGF-1, and both were independent of PCR and all other nutrition-related variables.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / metabolism
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Blood / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism*


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Serum Albumin