In chronic kidney disease altered cardiac metabolism precedes cardiac hypertrophy

Matthew J. Williams, Carmen M. Halabi, Hiral M. Patel, Zachary Joseph, Kyle McCommis, Carla Weinheimer, Attila Kovacs, Florence Lima, Brian Finck, Hartmut Malluche, Keith A. Hruska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conduit arterial disease in chronic kidney disease (CKD) is an important cause of cardiac complications. Cardiac function in CKD has not been studied in the absence of arterial disease. In an Alport syndrome model bred not to have conduit arterial disease, mice at 225 days of life (dol) had CKD equivalent to humans with CKD stage 4–5. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) and FGF23 levels were one log order elevated, circulating sclerostin was elevated, and renal activin A was strongly induced. Aortic Ca levels were not increased, and vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) transdifferentiation was absent. The CKD mice were not hypertensive, and cardiac hypertrophy was absent. Freshly excised cardiac tissue respirometry (Oroboros) showed that ADP-stimulated O2 flux was diminished from 52 to 22 pmol/mg (P ¼ 0.022). RNA-Seq of cardiac tissue from CKD mice revealed significantly decreased levels of cardiac mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation genes. To examine the effect of activin A signaling, some Alport mice were treated with a monoclonal Ab to activin A or an isotype-matched IgG beginning at 75 days of life until euthanasia. Treatment with the activin A antibody (Ab) did not affect cardiac oxidative phosphorylation. However, the activin A antibody was active in the skeleton, disrupting the effect of CKD to stimulate osteoclast number, eroded surfaces, and the stimulation of osteoclast-driven remodeling. The data reported here show that cardiac mitochondrial respiration is impaired in CKD in the absence of conduit arterial disease. This is the first report of the direct effect of CKD on cardiac respiration. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Heart disease is an important morbidity of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Hypertension, vascular stiffness, and vascular calcification all contribute to cardiac pathophysiology. However, cardiac function in CKD devoid of vascular disease has not been studied. Here, in an animal model of human CKD without conduit arterial disease, we analyze cardiac respiration and discover that CKD directly impairs cardiac mitochondrial function by decreasing oxidative phosphorylation. Protection of cardiac oxidative phosphorylation may be a therapeutic target in CKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F751-F767
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2024 the American Physiological Society.


  • CKD-mineral bone disorder
  • cardiac mitochondrial function
  • cardiorenal syndromes
  • chronic kidney disease
  • vascular calcification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Urology


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