Purpose of review
High protein intake and hyperfiltration have been a focus of major interest as potential mechanism(s) of progression of renal disease. This review will examine: the renal response to a protein meal or amino acid infusion and its use to test the renal functional reserve (RFR); new methods to evaluate RFR; the use of RFR in various pathophysiologic conditions.
The renal response to protein/amino acid infusion involves several mechanisms, including nitric oxide, insulin, glucagon, arginine vasopressin, urea, the renal N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Glutamate receptor and modulation of the activity of the tubuloglomerular feedback system. Dose–response studies to evaluate RFR suggest the presence of a potential ceiling. The utilization of a noninvasive technique such as Doppler ultrasonography is trying to simplify the measurement of RFR and to bring this test into different clinical settings. There is increased interest in the presence or absence of RFR in patients with acute kidney injury, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and its potential long-term implication regarding renal function.
The renal response to protein may help us understand the relationship between hyperfiltration, progression of renal disease, and other conditions (overall mortality, cardiovascular complications, and so on) currently being explored.