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Front Physiol. 2015 Oct 1;6:270. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2015.00270. eCollection 2015.

The role of the renal afferent and efferent nerve fibers in heart failure.

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1
Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, University of Melbourne Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Abstract

Renal nerves contain afferent, sensory and efferent, sympathetic nerve fibers. In heart failure (HF) there is an increase in renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA), which can lead to renal vasoconstriction, increased renin release and sodium retention. These changes are thought to contribute to renal dysfunction, which is predictive of poor outcome in patients with HF. In contrast, the role of the renal afferent nerves remains largely unexplored in HF. This is somewhat surprising as there are multiple triggers in HF that have the potential to increase afferent nerve activity, including increased venous pressure and reduced kidney perfusion. Some of the few studies investigating renal afferents in HF have suggested that at least the sympatho-inhibitory reno-renal reflex is blunted. In experimentally induced HF, renal denervation, both surgical and catheter-based, has been associated with some improvements in renal and cardiac function. It remains unknown whether the effects are due to removal of the efferent renal nerve fibers or afferent renal nerve fibers, or a combination of both. Here, we review the effects of HF on renal efferent and afferent nerve function and critically assess the latest evidence supporting renal denervation as a potential treatment in HF.

KEYWORDS:

arterial baroreflex; radiofrequency-ablation; renal afferent; renal denervation; renal sympathetic nerve activity

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