New Methods and Technologies for Measuring Uremic Toxins and Quantifying Dialysis Adequacy

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This publication reviews the currently available methods to identify uremic retention solutes, to determine their biological relevance and to quantify their removal. The analytical methods for the detection of uremic solutes have improved continuously, allowing the identification of several previously unknown solutes. Progress has been accelerated by the development of comprehensive strategies such as genomics, proteomics and the latest “omics” area, metabolomics. Those methodologies will be further refined in future. Once the concentration of solutes of interest is known based on targeted analysis, their biological relevance can be studied by means of in vitro, ex vivo, or animal models, provided those are representative for the key complications of the uremic syndrome. For this to come to pass, rigid protocols should be applied, e.g., aiming at free solute concentrations conform those found in uremia. Subsequently, the decrease in concentration of relevant solutes should be pursued by nondialysis (e.g., by influencing nutritional intake or intestinal generation, using sorbents, modifying metabolism, or preserving renal function) and dialysis methods. Optimal dialysis strategies can be sought by studying solute kinetics during dialysis. Clinical studies are necessary to assess the correct impact of those optimized strategies on outcomes. Although longitudinal studies of solute concentration and surrogate outcome studies are first steps in suggesting the usefulness of a given approach, ultimately hard outcome randomized controlled trials are needed to endorse evidence-based therapeutic choices. The nonspecificity of dialysis removal is however a handicap limiting the chances to provide proof of concept that a given solute or group of solutes has definite biological impact.

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