Blood Purif 2017 22;44(4):314-326. Epub 2017 Nov 22.
Department of Nephrology, Dialysis and Transplant, San Bortolo Hospital, Agrigento, Italy.
Gram-negative sepsis is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critical ill patients. Recent findings in molecular biology and in signaling pathways have enhanced our understanding of its pathogenesis and opened up opportunities of innovative therapeutic approaches. Endotoxin plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of multi-organ dysfunction in the setting of gram-negative sepsis. Indeed, heart and kidney impairments seem to be induced by the release of circulating pro-inflammatory and pro-apoptotic mediators triggered by endotoxin interaction with immune cells. These molecules are responsible for cellular apoptosis, autophagy, cell cycle arrest, and microRNAs activation. Therefore, the early identification of sepsis-associated acute kidney injury and heart dysfunction may improve the patient clinical outcome. In this report, we will consider the role of endotoxin in the pathogenesis of sepsis, its effects on both cardiac and renal functions, and the interactions between these 2 systems in the setting of cardiorenal syndromes (CRS), particularly in CRS type 5. Finally, we will discuss the possible role of extracorporeal therapies in reducing endotoxin levels.