Acid-Mediated Kidney Injury Across the Spectrum of Metabolic Acidosis

Naveen P.G. Ravikumar, Alan C. Pao, Kalani L. Raphael

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Metabolic acidosis affects about 15% of patients with chronic kidney disease. As kidney function declines, the kidneys progressively fail to eliminate acid, primarily reflected by a decrease in ammonium and titratable acid excretion. Several studies have shown that the net acid load remains unchanged in patients with reduced kidney function; the ensuing acid accumulation can precede overt metabolic acidosis, and thus, indicators of urinary acid or potential base excretion, such as ammonium and citrate, may serve as early signals of impending metabolic acidosis. Acid retention, with or without overt metabolic acidosis, initiates compensatory responses that can promote tubulointerstitial fibrosis via intrarenal complement activation and upregulation of endothelin-1, angiotensin II, and aldosterone pathways. The net effect is a cycle between acid accumulation and kidney injury. Results from small- to medium-sized interventional trials suggest that interrupting this cycle through base administration can prevent further kidney injury. While these findings inform current clinical practice guidelines, large-scale clinical trials are still necessary to prove that base therapy can limit chronic kidney disease progression or associated adverse events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)406-415
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Chronic Kidney Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Acid-base balance
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Metabolic acidosis
  • Nutrition
  • Sodium bicarbonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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