Cerebro-renal interactions: Impact of uremic toxins on cognitive function

Kimio Watanabe, Tsuyoshi Watanabe, Masaaki Nakayama

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Cognitive impairment (CI) associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) has received attention as an important problem in recent years. Causes of CI with CKD are multifactorial, and include cerebrovascular disease, renal anemia, secondary hyperparathyroidism, dialysis disequilibrium, and uremic toxins (UTs). Among these causes, little is known about the role of UTs. We therefore selected 21 uremic compounds, and summarized reports of cerebro-renal interactions associated with UTs. Among the compounds, uric acid, indoxyl sulfate, p-cresyl sulfate, interleukin 1-β, interleukin 6, TNF-α, and PTH were most likely to affect the cerebro-renal interaction dysfunction; however, sufficient data have not been obtained for other UTs. Notably, most of the data were not obtained under uremic conditions; therefore, the impact and mechanism of each UT on cognition and central nervous system in uremic state remains unknown. At present, impacts and mechanisms of UT effects on cognition are poorly understood. Clarifying the mechanisms and establishing novel therapeutic strategies for cerebro-renal interaction dysfunction is expected to be subject of future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-193
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sep


  • Cerebro-renal interactions
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Uremic toxins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Toxicology


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