Pathophysiologic insight into MesoAmerican nephropathy

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Purpose of review

Mesoamerican nephropathy (MeN) is an emerging pathophysiological entity of Chronic kidney desease (CKD) not related to traditional risk factors (diabetes and hypertension) that have caused thousands of deaths in Central America, mainly in sugarcane workers. The focus of this review is to discuss the risk factors and probable mechanisms involved in the initiation and progression of this devastating disease.

Recent findings

Frequent episodes of subclinical Acute kidney injury caused by repetitive heat stress, dehydration, and strenuous work have been regarded as the main risk factors for MeN. The combination of them chronically activates vasopressin, renin angiotensin aldosterone system, and polyol-fructokinase pathway in the kidney. Also, subclinical rhabdomyolysis compound the framework of the disease by exacerbating systemic inflammation and inducing uricosuria. Exposure to nephrotoxins, high fructose intake, and use of NSAIDs could also contribute to further accelerating the progression of the disease.


The evidence supports the notion that recurrent cycles of heat stress, dehydration, and strenuous work may cause CKD. The chronic activation of such mechanisms likely occurs in other conditions of reduced water intake and probably explains why the current management of CKD has not been effective to revert or halt the progression to end-stage CKD.

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