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Nitric oxide in uremia: effects of several potentially toxic guanidino compounds.

Vascular and neurologic impairment remain an important source of morbidity in patients with chronic renal failure (CRF). A portion of CRF patients still suffers from uremic encephalopathy or other signs of nervous system impairment. Several reports demonstrate increased incidence of cardiac infarction and cerebrovascular accidents in CRF patients, even in those with otherwise adequate dialysis treatment [1]. Premature vascular disease, including myocardial infarction, stroke, and peripheral vascular disorder, are the leading causes of death in this population. Although several traditional risk factors for vascular disease and endothelial dysfunction, including smoking, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension, are often increased in CRF, these factors can only partly explain the high vasculopathy-related morbidity and mortality. Several authors have postulated that CRF-associated atherosclerosis and endothelial dysfunction result from accumulation of certain 'uremic factors,' the identities of which are still a matter of debate. These factors include a variety of guanidino compounds (GCs), which have been shown to be nitric oxide synthase (NOS) modulators both in vitro and in vivo. However, other effects of accumulated uremic GCs have been identified.

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