The specific impact of uremic toxins upon cognitive domains: a review

ABSTRACT One of the mechanisms proposed for chronic kidney disease (CKD)-related cognitive impairment is the accumulation of uremic toxins due to the deterioration of the renal clearance function. Cognition can be categorized into five major domains according to its information processing functions: memory, attention, language, visual-spatial, and executive. We performed a review using the terms 'uric acid', 'indoxyl sulfate', 'p-cresyl sulfate', 'homocysteine', 'interleukins' and 'parathyroid hormone'. These are the compounds that were found to be strongly associated with cognitive impairment in CKD in the literature. The 26 selected articles point towards an association between higher levels of uric acid, homocysteine, and interleukin 6 with lower cognitive performance in executive, attentional, and memory domains. We also reviewed the hemodialysis effects on cognition. Hemodialysis seems to contribute to an amelioration of CKD-related encephalopathic dysfunction, although this improvement occurs more in some cognitive domains than in others.