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Kidney Int. 2008 Jul;74(1):47-51. doi: 10.1038/ki.2008.110. Epub 2008 Mar 26.

Genetic deficiency of heme oxygenase-1 impairs functionality and form of an arteriovenous fistula in the mouse.

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Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Vascular access dysfunction contributes to patient morbidity during maintenance hemodialysis. In this study we determined if knockout of heme oxygenase-1 predisposed to malfunction of arteriovenous fistulas. After three weeks, all fistulas in wild type mice were patent whereas a third of the fistulas in knockout mice were occluded and these exhibited increased neointimal hyperplasia and venous wall thickening. Heme oxygenase-1 mRNA and protein were robustly induced in the fistulas of the wild type mice. In the knockout mice there was increased PAI-1 and MCP-1 expression, marked induction of MMP-2 and MMP-9, but similar expression of PDGF alpha, IGF-1, TGF-beta1, VEGF, and osteopontin compared to wild type mice. We conclude that heme oxygenase-1 deficiency promotes vasculopathic gene expression, accelerates neointimal hyperplasia and impairs the function of arteriovenous fistulas.

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