Characterization of an Animal Model to Study Risk Factors and New Therapies for the Cardiorenal Syndrome, a Major Health Issue in Our Aging Population

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Background: The cardiorenal syndrome (CRS) is a major health problem in our aging population. The term was introduced to cover disorders of the kidneys and heart, whereby dysfunction of one organ may induce dysfunction of the other. As the natural history of the CRS is mostly slow, hence difficult to explore in clinical trials, adequate animal models combining cardiovascular and renal disease are required. Therefore, we developed and characterized a usable model for CRS type 4, i.e. chronic kidney disease (CKD) causing cardiac dysfunction. Methods: CKD was induced in rats by supplementing the diet with adenine. During 8 weeks, several aspects of CRS were studied: CKD, mineral-bone disorder (MBD), cardiovascular disease, and (iron-deficiency) anemia. Hereto, the following parameters were monitored: serum creatinine, calcium, phosphate, FGF23, dynamic bone parameters, aortic Ca deposits, heart weight, serum NT-proANP, Hct, Hb, reticulocytes, spleen iron, and serum hepcidin. Results: Animals developed a severe CKD together with a disturbed mineral balance as reflected by the increased serum creatinine and phosphorus levels and decreased serum calcium levels; and in association herewith aberrations in hormonal levels of FGF-23. In turn, the well-known and highly undesirable complications of CKD, i.e. high turnover bone disease and pathological vessel calcification were induced. Furthermore (iron-deficiency) anemia developed quickly. Conclusion: The animal model described in this article in many aspects mimics the human situation of the CRS type 4 and will be useful to concomitantly evaluate the effects of new treatment strategies on the various aspects of CRS.

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