Advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by a premature aging phenotype of multifactorial origin. Mitochondrial dysfunction is prevalent in CKD and has been proposed as a major contributor to poor muscle function. Although the mitochondria-derived peptides (MDPs) humanin and mitochondrial open reading frame of 12S rRNA-c (MOTS-c) are involved in cell survival, suppression of apoptosis, and glucose control, the implications of MDP in CKD are unknown. We investigated humanin and MOTS-c protein expression in skeletal muscle and serum levels in CKD at stage 5 (glomerular filtration rate: <15 ml/min) patients and age-matched controls with normal renal function. Whereas circulating levels of humanin were increased in CKD, local muscle expression was reduced. In contrast, MOTS-c levels were reduced in both skeletal muscle and serum in CKD. Humanin in serum correlated positively to circulating TNF levels. Reduced MDP levels in skeletal muscle were associated with lower mitochondrial density and evidence of oxidative stress. These results indicate a differential regulation of MDPs in CKD and suggest an alternative site for humanin production than skeletal muscle in the uremic milieu. MDP levels were linked to systemic inflammation and evidence of oxidative stress in the muscle, two hallmark features of premature aging and uremia.
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