Hormonal regulation of energy-protein homeostasis in hemodialysis patients: An anorexigenic profile that may predispose to adverse cardiovascular outcomes

Manish Suneja, Daryl J. Murry, John B. Stokes, Victoria S. Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


To assess whether endocrine dysfunction may cause derangement in energy homeostasis in patients undergoing hemodialysis (HD), we profiled hormones, during a 3-day period, from the adipose tissue and the gut and the nervous system around the circadian clock in 10 otherwise healthy HD patients and 8 normal controls. The protocol included a 40-h fast. We also measured energy-protein intake and output and assessed appetite and body composition. We found many hormonal abnormalities in HD patients: 1) leptin levels were elevated, due, in part, to increased production, and nocturnal surge in response to daytime feeding, exaggerated. 2) Peptide YY (PYY), an anorexigenic gut hormone, was markedly elevated and displayed an augmented response to feeding. 3) Acylated ghrelin, an orexigenic gut hormone, was lower and did not exhibit the premeal spike as observed in the controls. 4) neuropeptide Y (NPY), a potent orexigenic peptide, was markedly elevated and did not display any circadian variation. 5) Norepinephrine, marginally elevated, did not exhibit the normal nocturnal dip. By contrast, α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone and glucagon-like peptide-1 were not different between the two groups. Despite these hormonal abnormalities, HD patients maintained a good appetite and had normal body lean and fat mass, and there was no evidence of increased energy expenditure or protein catabolism. We explain the hormonal abnormalities as well as the absence of anorexia on suppression of parasympathetic activity (vagus nerve dysfunction), a phenomenon well documented in dialysis patients. Unexpectedly, we noted that the combination of high leptin, PYY, and NPY with suppressed ghrelin may increase arterial blood pressure, impair vasodilatation, and induce cardiac hypertrophy, and thus could predispose to adverse cardiovascular events that are the major causes of morbidity and mortality in the HD population. This is the first report attempting to link hormonal abnormalities associated with energy homeostasis to adverse cardiovascular outcome in the HD patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E55-E64
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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