Comparing Aging and Chronic Kidney Disease
Posted by Reason
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a particular unpleasant condition, not least because it accelerates many of the other manifestations of aging, but also because there is comparatively little that can be done to treat it at this time. There are lines of work based around suppressing fibrosis characteristic of aged, damaged kidneys, and also the potential use of stem cell therapies to regenerate healthy kidney tissue, but practical implementations are yet to emerge. Since a little less than 10-20% of the adult population in developed nations suffers from chronic kidney disease, depending on where you want to drawn the line, progress on the path to treatments has the potential to help a large number of patients.
One of the signs of failing kidney function is uremia, the increased presence of metabolic products such as urea in the bloodstream. It shows that the kidneys are not filtering as well as they should, and as levels of these unwanted products grow they are accompanied by a very broad range of damaging and increasingly serious consequences. Many of these consequences look a lot like the general progression of aging from the outside: increased frailty on many counts, and increased risk of suffering other age-related conditions.
In this open access review paper the authors seek to draw comparisons between the biochemistry of aged people without chronic kidney disease and younger people suffering the condition. There are numerous similarities, but is this a case in which those similarities are a learning opportunity? This is a question perhaps worth thinking about in the context of type 2 diabetes, a condition that can also be thought of as accelerating certain aspects of aging, and has for some time been used in animal studies as a model substitute for aging.