Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Visfatin is increased in chronic kidney disease patients with poor appetite and correlates negatively with fasting serum amino acids and triglyceride levels.

OBJECTIVE: Anorexia is a common complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD), while novel animal and human data suggest a role for visfatin in regulating feeding behavior. We hypothesized that increased visfatin levels in CKD patients may be involved in the regulation of appetite and nutrient homeostasis.

METHODS: This is a cross-sectional study where circulating visfatin levels were analysed in 246 incident CKD stage 5 patients starting dialysis therapy. The associations between visfatin (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, ELISA) and anthropometric and biochemical nutritional status, self-reported appetite, fasting serum amino acids (high-performance liquid chromatography) and circulating cytokine levels (ELISAs) were assessed. We also performed genotyping (Pyrosequencing(R)) of two polymorphisms (rs1319501 and rs9770242) in the visfatin gene.

RESULTS: Serum visfatin concentrations were not associated with either body mass index or serum leptin. Across groups with worsening appetite, median visfatin levels were incrementally higher (P < 0.05). With increasing visfatin tertiles, patients proved to be more often anorectic (P < 0.05) and to have incrementally lower serum albumin, cholesterol and triglycerides as well as lower essential and non-essential serum amino acids (P < 0.05 for all). A polymorphism in the visfatin gene was associated with increased circulating visfatin levels and, at the same time, a higher prevalence of poor appetite (P < 0.05 for both).

CONCLUSION: Our study suggests novel links between visfatin and anorexia in CKD patients. Based on recent studies, we speculate that high visfatin in CKD patients may constitute a counter-regulatory response to central visfatin resistance in uremia. Future studies should examine a putative role of visfatin as a regulator of nutrient homeostasis in uremia.

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