Age, Renal Perfusion and Function in Island-Dwelling Indigenous Kuna Amerinds of PanamaHollenberg N.K.a · Rivera A.a · Meinking T.b · Martinez G.c · McCullough M.a · Passan D.a · Preston M.c · Taplin D.b · Vicaria-Clement M.b
Departments of Medicine and Radiology,aBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., bUniversity of Miami, Fla., USA; cPanamanian Ministry of Health, Panama City, Panama
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Background/Aims: Among possible contributors to a progressive fall in renal perfusion and function with increasing age, some hypotheses have invoked the rise in blood pressure that occurs with age, and a high-protein diet typical of urban cultures. Kuna Amerinds residing in isolated islands off the Panamanian Coast have a very low protein intake and show no tendency for blood pressure to rise with age, thus providing an opportunity to test these hypotheses. Methods: We measured renal plasma flow and glomerular filtration rate (PAH and inulin clearance) in 16 Kuna Indians ranging in age from 18 to 86 years (51 ± 6 years) who have resided on Ailigandi, an isolated Panamanian island for all of their lives. Inulin and PAH were infused with a battery-driven pump for 60 min, and a metabolic clearance rate used to calculate inulin and PAH clearance. For comparison, we employed identical techniques in 29 residents of Boston, ranging in age from 19 to 79 years (52 ± 4 years), all normotensive and free of disease or medication use. Twenty-four were Caucasian. Results: The Bostonian controls showed the anticipated fall in PAH clearance with age (y = 806 – 4.9x; r = –0.82; f = 38.0; p < 0.0001). Our hypothesis was that the absence of a blood pressure rise with age and the low protein intake would flatten the slope relating renal perfusion to Kuna age. Our finding was a numerically steeper slope relating age and renal plasma flow in the Kuna (y = 936 – 6.48x; r = –0.81; p < 0.001). Filtration fraction rose with age in both populations, and again the rise was steeper in the Kuna. GFR in the Kuna, on the other hand, was very much higher at any age (139 ± 4 ml/min/1.73 m2) than in Bostonians (112 ± 3 ml/min/1.73 m2; p < 0.001). Conclusion: The findings are not in accord with the hypothesis that age-related changes in renal perfusion and glomerular filtration rate reflect an important contribution from blood pressure rise and a high protein intake, typical of modern, urban life.
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