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Kidney Blood Flow May Explain Increased Long-Term Risks for Obese Kidney Donors

or donation, people who are older or obese are nowadays more readily accepted as living kidney donors, which may expose them to a higher risk of kidney damage," according to Dr. Rook. "To ensure donor safety, it is important to identify the mechanisms through which obesity may be harmful to the remaining kidney after donation."

In previous studies, co-workers from Dr. Rook's research group found that obesity-related hyperfiltration predicts increased rates of renal damage and transplant loss and an increased risk of early death in kidney transplant recipients. The new results suggest that higher filtration pressure in overweight or obese living kidney donors might also increase the donors' own long-term risks after donation.

Fortunately, increased filtration fraction can be treated. "Filtration pressure can be reduced by proven drug treatments, such as ACE-inhibitors and AT1 receptor blockers," says Dr. Rook. "Moreover, we recently discovered that a low-sodium diet can also correct overweight-induced hyperfiltration, and thus might be able to protect the kidney from the harmful effects of obesity."

The researchers believe that obesity-induced hyperfiltration is an important issue that deserves further research, including possibilities for treatment. "Our studies are important in the light of future strategies to limit risk for renal damage in prospective kidney donors with an unfavorable risk profile," Dr. Rook concludes. "Furthermore, follow-up of living kidney donors in both the short term and long term after kidney donation is warranted.

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