Muscle fibrosis and maladaptation occur progressively in CKD and are rescued by dialysis

Camille R. Brightwell, Ameya S. Kulkarni, William Paredes, Kehao Zhang, Jaclyn B. Perkins, Knubian J. Gatlin, Matthew Custodio, Hina Farooq, Bushra Zaidi, Rima Pai, Rupinder S. Buttar, Yan Tang, Michal L. Melamed, Thomas H. Hostetter, Jeffrey E. Pessin, Meredith Hawkins, Christopher S. Fry, Matthew K. Abramowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Skeletal muscle maladaptation accompanies chronic kidney disease (CKD) and negatively affects physical function. Emphasis in CKD has historically been placed on muscle fiber–intrinsic deficits, such as altered protein metabolism and atrophy. However, targeted treatment of fiber-intrinsic dysfunction has produced limited improvement, whereas alterations within the fiber-extrinsic environment have scarcely been examined. METHODS. We investigated alterations to the skeletal muscle interstitial environment with deep cellular phenotyping of biopsies from patients with CKD and age-matched controls and performed transcriptome profiling to define the molecular underpinnings of CKD-associated muscle impairments. We examined changes in muscle maladaptation following initiation of dialysis therapy for kidney failure. RESULTS. Patients with CKD exhibited a progressive fibrotic muscle phenotype, which was associated with impaired regenerative capacity and lower vascular density. The severity of these deficits was strongly associated with the degree of kidney dysfunction. Consistent with these profound deficits, CKD was associated with broad alterations to the muscle transcriptome, including altered ECM organization, downregulated angiogenesis, and altered expression of pathways related to stem cell self-renewal. Remarkably, despite the seemingly advanced nature of this fibrotic transformation, dialysis treatment rescued these deficits, restoring a healthier muscle phenotype. Furthermore, after accounting for muscle atrophy, strength and endurance improved after dialysis initiation. CONCLUSION. These data identify a dialysis-responsive muscle fibrotic phenotype in CKD and suggest the early dialysis window presents a unique opportunity of improved muscle regenerative capacity during which targeted interventions may achieve maximal impact. TRIAL REGISTRATION. NCT01452412 FUNDING.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere150112
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 22 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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