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Cardiovascular morbidity is a major problem in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and endothelial dysfunction (ED) is involved in its development. The luminal side of the vascular endothelium is covered by a protective endothelial glycocalyx (eGC) and indirect evidence indicates eGC loss in CKD patients. We aimed to investigate potential eGC loss and ED in skin biopsies of CKD patients and their association with inflammation and volume overload. During living kidney transplantation procedure, abdominal skin biopsies were taken from 11 patients with chronic kidney disease stage 5 of whom 4 were treated with hemodialysis and 7 did not receive dialysis treatment. Nine healthy kidney donors served as controls. Biopsies were stained and quantified for the eGC marker Ulex europaeus agglutinin-1 (UEA1) and the endothelial markers vascular endothelial growth factor-2 (VEGFR2) and von Willebrand factor (vWF) after double staining and normalization for the pan-endothelial marker cluster of differentiation 31. We also studied associations between quantified log-transformed dermal endothelial markers and plasma markers of inflammation and hydration status. Compared to healthy subjects, there was severe loss of the eGC marker UEA1 (P < 0.01) while VEGFR2 was increased in CKD patients, especially in those on dialysis (P = 0.01). For vWF, results were comparable between CKD patients and controls. Skin water content was identical in the three groups, which excluded dermal edema as an underlying cause in patients with CKD. The dermal eGC/ED markers UEA1, VEGFR2, and vWF all associated with plasma levels of NT-proBNP and sodium (all R 2 > 0.29 and P < 0.01), except for vWF that only associated with plasma NT-proBNP. This study is the first to show direct histopathological evidence of dermal glycocalyx loss and ED in patients with CKD. In line with previous research, our results show that ED associates with markers of volume overload arguing for strict volume control in CKD patients. Copyright © 2021 Koch, Hijmans, Ossa Builes, Dam, Pol, Bakker, Pas, Franssen and van den Born.


Josephine Koch, Ryanne S Hijmans, Manuela Ossa Builes, Wendy A Dam, Robert A Pol, Stephan J L Bakker, Hendri H Pas, Casper F M Franssen, Jacob van den Born. Direct Evidence of Endothelial Dysfunction and Glycocalyx Loss in Dermal Biopsies of Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease and Their Association With Markers of Volume Overload. Frontiers in cell and developmental biology. 2021;9:733015

PMID: 34621749

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