Potential mechanisms for renal damage in beta-thalassemia

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Improvement of survival in patients with β-thalassemia has allowed several clinical morbidities to manifest, including renal complications. Patients may experience proximal tubular dysfunctions and abnormalities in glomerular filtration rate. Several risk factors have been proposed. Hypoxia may lead to renal damage with resulting proximal tubular epithelial cell dysfunction and interstitial fibrosis, while anemia induces renal hemodynamic changes. Iron overload secondary to regular transfusion therapy can also result in an increase in oxidative stress and direct cytotoxicity to the kidney. Moreover, the use of certain iron-chelating agents is associated with a transient, nonprogressive increase in serum creatinine levels. However, most available evidence comes from small, cross-sectional studies. Longitudinal follow-up of patients is needed to better understand the mechanisms of renal abnormalities in this patient population.

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