Journal Article

The clinical impact of aluminium overload in renal failure

Jorge B. Cannata‐Andía and Jose L. Fernández‐Martín

in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation

Published on behalf of European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Assoc

Volume 17, issue suppl_2, pages 9-12
Published in print March 2002 | ISSN: 0931-0509
Published online March 2002 | e-ISSN: 1460-2385 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ndt/17.suppl_2.9
The clinical impact of aluminium overload in renal failure

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Chronic aluminium exposure and toxicity related to aluminium absorption and contaminated dialysis fluid continue to be a problem for many patients with renal failure, particularly in South America and in some developing countries. The two most prevalent sources of aluminium in this population are water used to prepare dialysate and aluminium‐containing phosphate binders. Of particular concern is the effect of aluminium at the level of the bone, the haematopoietic system and the brain. Here we focus mainly on the adverse effects of aluminium on bone, the preferred organ of aluminium accumulation in the body. Unfortunately, aluminium has a cumulative effect, thus even short‐term exposure to aluminium in phosphate binders adds to the total load and may contribute to the risk of aluminium‐related bone disease. Even a bone biopsy does not allow a precise determination of total bone aluminium content. We examine the mechanisms by which aluminium contributes to abnormal bone remodelling. Studies indicate that aluminium has a direct effect, inhibiting bone formation and resorption. There is also evidence for an indirect effect through the action of aluminium on parathyroid hormone synthesis and by its modulation of calcium activity. We discuss commonly used techniques for identifying aluminium load and review studies of chelation therapy as a method to lower aluminium load. It is apparent that aluminium overload has serious consequences for patients with chronic renal failure, yet this problem can be largely prevented by the use of aluminium‐free phosphate binders. The deleterious effects on bone remodelling caused by chronic exposure to aluminium suggest that caution should be observed when using other metals as phosphate binders.

Keywords: aluminium; bone remodelling; desferrioxamine; phosphate binders

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Nephrology

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