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Blood Purif. 2006;24(1):63-6.

Salt--a potential 'uremic toxin'?

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Department of Internal Medicine, Ruperto Carola University Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


It has been known for decades that salt (NaCl) determines extracellular volume as well as blood pressure and is one cause of hypertension. The difficulty to control the NaCl balance and thus treat sodium overload and hypertension in patients on dialysis has been recognized by Scribner in the early days of dialysis. In recent years, an impressive body of evidence has accumulated indicating that in essential hypertension, NaCl--blood pressure independently--causes target organ damage such as left ventricular hypertrophy, microalbuminuria, and increased aortic stiffness. It has further been recognized that NaCl increases oxidative stress and, again blood pressure independently, amplifies tissue injury induced by aldosterone. In renal damage models, progression is dramatically accelerated by high NaCl intake. Sodium as a potential culprit in progression to target organ damage in terminal renal failure has not been well investigated so far. However, it is possible, and indeed likely, that sodium plays an adverse role in the genesis of target organ damage in terminal renal failure.

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