Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health problem worldwide and affects both elderly and young subjects. Its main consequences include the loss of renal function, leading to end-stage renal disease, an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, a significant increase in morbidity and mortality, and a decrease in health-related quality of life. This review arose in significant part from work in the authors’ laboratory, complemented by literature data, and was based on a translational approach: we studied the role of many CKD risk factors, such as hypertension, obesity, and oxidative stress/inflammation. The aim was to identify new molecular mechanisms of kidney damage to prevent it through successful behavior modifications. For this purpose, in our studies, both human and animal models were used. In the animal models, we analyzed the mechanisms of renal damage induced by hypertension (spontaneously hypertensive rats) and obesity (cafeteria diet-fed rats), showing that redox disequilibrium in plasma and tissue is extremely important in renal alteration in terms of both oxidative damage (lipid peroxidation, altered expression antioxidant enzymes) and apoptotic pathway (intrinsic/extrinsic) activation. In hemodialysis patients, we explored the correlation between the global oxidative balance and both inflammatory markers and cardiovascular risk, showing a strong correlation between the oxidative index and the blood levels of C-reactive protein and previous cardiovascular events. This multilevel approach allowed us to individually and synergistically analyze some aspects of the complex pathogenic mechanisms of CKD in order to clarify the role of the new amplified risk factors for CKD and to prepare an effective personalized prevention plan by acting on both modifiable and nonmodifiable risk factors.
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