Patients with chronic renal failure, and particularly those receiving regular haemodialysis, have a high incidence of premature cardiovascular disease. Oxidative stress, which causes lipid peroxidation, may contribute to increase the risk of atherosclerosis. The results of the present study indicate that lipid peroxidation products (malonaldehyde and 4-hydroxyalkenals) are significantly increased in plasma of renal patients before dialysis and, although reduced, remained above the normal range after this treatment. Moreover, production of free radicals and reactive oxygen metabolites was increased in chronic renal failure patients, especially after dialysis. On the other hand, the antioxidant defenses of those patients were higher than those of normal subjects, as judged from the plasma levels of specific antioxidant molecules and from the plasma antioxidant capacity.
We also found that triglycerides were significantly higher in renal patients, both before and after dialysis, than in the control group.
These results suggest that patients on chronic haemodialysis are particularly prone to oxidative stress and that dialysis itself may worsen this condition. Rather than to a weakening of antioxidant defenses, the susceptibility of chronic renal failure patients to oxidative stress might be ascribed to an increased free radical and reactive oxygen metabolite production and to increased levels of oxidizable substrates, notably triglycerides with their unsaturated fatty acids.
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