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Compound May Be Sign, Or Cause, of Kidney Disease

Understanding ADMA's role may lead to treatments, researchers say

WEDNESDAY, June 29, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- A new molecular marker may be a sign -- or a contributing cause -- of kidney damage and loss of organ function in people with chronic kidney disease, say German and Italian researchers.

The marker, called asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), measures blood vessel damage and may help predict further loss of kidney function, according to two studies in the August issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

If further research shows that elevated levels of ADMA are not just a marker, but actually a cause of progressive kidney damage, then treatments to reduce ADMA levels may help prevent long-term consequences in patients with chronic kidney disease.

In the first study, German researchers at Hanover Medical School measured ADMA concentrations in 227 people with mild to moderate chronic kidney disease. At the start of the study, people with lower kidney function also had higher ADMA levels. As the study progressed, patients with higher ADMA levels were more likely to have progressive kidney disease and took less time to develop progressive kidney disease, the researchers found.

In the second study, Italian researchers at Cremona Hospital evaluated 131 mainly older people with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease. At the start of the study, patients with higher ADMA levels had worse kidney function. After two years, those with higher ADMA levels were more likely to have died or to have entered end-stage kidney disease.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about CKD.

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, June 21, 2005
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