How bad kidneys can lead to heart disease

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According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, close to nine percent of the global population lives with some form of chronic kidney disease or CKD.

Not only does the condition affect renal function, but CKD has long been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

In a new study from Kyushu University, researchers found an underlying molecular pathway that can explain how chronic kidney disease induces heart failure.

They found that a key driver is the dysfunction of a type of white blood cell called a monocyte.

The dysfunction is caused by increased levels of vitamin A and its binding protein—a common symptom of chronic kidney disease—breaking a well-known genetic pathway: the circadian clock.

The finding could aid the development of therapeutic drugs to reduce these cardiac complications.

The circadian clock is one of the most indispensable biological functions in living organisms. A common understanding of the pathway is that it controls our sleep patterns.

However, the circadian clock plays a much larger role, affecting blood pressure, metabolic rate, and even hormone levels. In fact, nearly 10% of our genes are directly influenced by the circadian clock.

In the study, the team examined the causes of chronic kidney disease-induced heart inflammation and fibrosis.

They found that mice with a mutated Clock gene—one of the main regulators of the circadian clock—have decreased symptoms of heart problems related to chronic kidney disease, despite having high blood pressure.

One sign of kidney dysfunction is elevated levels of vitamin A and its binding protein, two molecules that are usually carefully controlled.

The researchers found that this elevation disrupts the normal activity of the circadian clock in monocytes.

These monocytes then infiltrate the heart and cause inflammation and fibrosis. This explains why mice with defective Clock genes have less severe CKD-induced heart problems.

This study reveals a previously unknown role of monocytic clock genes in CKD-induced heart failure.

The team says the findings will help researchers develop therapeutic drugs. Scientists also can investigate better treatments for abnormal vitamin A accumulation in the blood.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about this nutrient can protect your heart rate and findings of women have a higher risk of this deadly heart disease at night.

For more information about heart disease and wellness, please see recent studies about the cause of various types of heart disease and results showing that acting quickly after heart attack symptoms start can be a life saver.

The study is published in Nature Communications. One author of the study is Shigehiro Ohdo.

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