Gender Differences in Renal Functioning and Disease

2019-09-17 02:47:48 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of the GenderBOLD study is to shed light on the mechanisms responsible for women's lower susceptibility to developing and progressing chronic renal disease, using modern imaging techniques, and applying different diets. We postulate that oxygenation and renal perfusion are better conserved and change less in women than in men in different dietary situations (high salt-low salt), possibly because they are able to store excess salt in their skin and muscles. We postulate that these differences are independent of their menstrual cycle. Finally, we will analyze the renal functional reserve and changes in renal perfusion through an oral protein load and after sublingual nitroglycerin to assess whether potential différences exist between genders.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects about 10% of the adult population in Switzerland.

Despite decades of research, the mechanisms involved in the development and progression of CKD remain unclear, and there is a lack of preventative therapies. Women are relatively protected against CKD, but this topic has been little studied.

The kidney is very sensitive to hypoxia and its chronic oxygen depravation is the final step in the pathogenesis of CKD. A special MRI application, called BOLD-MRI, has the ability to measure renal tissue oxygenation in humans. In a recent BOLD-MRI study, we demonstrated that cortical oxygenation is significantly higher in women than in men, which may explain women's lower susceptibility to declining renal function. However, whether this is true under different dietary conditions (high salt-low salt), and whether renal oxygenation changes throughout the menstrual cycle is unknown and will be assessed in this study.

Renal oxygenation depends on its perfusion. Renal micro-perfusion can be measured with contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) and is expressed as PI (perfusion index). CEUS is a recent imaging technique that combines conventional ultrasound with the administration of a microbubble contrast agent (a lipid or albumin-enveloped gas compound). The microbubbles are inert and eliminated by pulmonary and hepatic systems within one hour of administration. They are not nephrotoxic and have no major side effects. Whether there are differences in renal perfusion as measured with CEUS between men and women with and without CKD will be also assessed in this study.

Oxygenation of the kidneys does not only depend on their perfusion, but also on their consumption, mainly related to tubular active sodium transport. Thus, their oxygenation is lower in the case of a high salt diet compared to a low salt diet. This has been proven in men, but not in women.

Recently, another MRI technique called 23Na MRI was used to measure the amount of salt stored in the skin and muscles. It is possible that the cutaneous and muscular capacity of storing salt according to dietary salt intake is lower in men, but this has not, at present, been examined.

Study Design


Chronic Renal Failure


high-salt diet (V1) and low salt diet (V2), Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS), functional MRI, Pilocarpine test


CHUV, nephrology service




Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-09-17T02:47:48-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A diet that contains limited amounts of CARBOHYDRATES. This is in distinction to a regular DIET.

Regular course of eating and drinking adopted by a person or animal. This does not include DIET THERAPY, a specific diet prescribed in the treatment of a disease.

A diet that consists mainly of foods with a high content of protein and limited amounts of CARBOHYDRATES.

A course of food intake that is high in FATS and low in CARBOHYDRATES. This diet provides sufficient PROTEINS for growth but insufficient amount of carbohydrates for the energy needs of the body. A ketogenic diet generates 80-90% of caloric requirements from fats and the remainder from proteins.

A course of food intake that is high in FATS and low in CARBOHYDRATES. This diet provides sufficient PROTEINS for growth but insufficient amount of carbohydrates for the energy needs of the body. A ketogenic diet generates 80-90% of caloric requirements from fats and the remainder from proteins.

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