Indoxyl sulfate induced frailty in patients with end-stage renal disease by disrupting the PGC-1α–FNDC5 axis

Yi Chou Hou, Min Tser Liao, Kuo Wang Tsai, Cai Mei Zheng, Hui Wen Chiu, Kuo Cheng Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Sarcopenia or frailty is common among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The protein-bound uremic toxin indoxyl sulfate (IS) is associated with frailty. IS induces apoptosis and disruption of mitochondrial activity in skeletal muscle. However, the association of IS with anabolic myokines such as irisin in patients with CKD or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is unclear. This study aims to elucidate whether IS induces frailty by dysregulating irisin in patients with CKD. Materials and Methods: The handgrip strength of 53 patients, including 28 patients with ESRD, was examined. Serum concentrations of IS and irisin were analyzed. CKD was established in BALB/c mice through 5/6 nephrectomy. Pathologic analysis of skeletal muscle was assessed through haematoxylin and eosin and Masson’s trichrome staining. Expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator PGC-1α and irisin were analyzed using real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. Results: Handgrip strength was lower among patients with ESRD than among those without ESRD. In total, 64.3% and 24% of the patients in the ESRD and control groups had low handgrip strength, respectively (p < 0.05). Serum concentrations of IS were significantly higher in the ESRD group than in the control group (222.81 ± 90.67 μM and 23.19 ± 33.28 μM, respectively, p < 0.05). Concentrations of irisin were lower in the ESRD group than in the control group (64.62 ± 32.64 pg/mL vs. 99.77 ± 93.29 pg/mL, respectively, p < 0.05). ROC curves for low handgrip strength by irisin and IS were 0.298 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.139–0.457, p < 0.05) and 0.733 (95% CI: 0.575–0.890, p < 0.05), respectively. The percentage of collagen was significantly higher in mice with 5/6 nephrectomy than in the control group. After resveratrol (RSV) treatment, the percentage of collagen significantly decreased. RSV modulates TGF-β signaling. In vitro analysis revealed that IS treatment suppressed expression of PGC-1α and FNDC5 in a dose–dependent manner, whereas RSV treatment attenuated IS-induced phenomena in C2C12 cells. Conclusion: IS was positively correlated with frailty in patients with ESRD through the modulation of the PGC-1α–FNDC5 axis. RSV may be a potential drug for reversing IS-induced suppression of the PGC-1α–FNDC5 axis in skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11532-11545
Number of pages14
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • FNDC5
  • frailty
  • indoxyl sulfate
  • irisin
  • PGC-1α
  • PPARγ
  • resveratrol
  • sarcopenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Cell Biology


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