Introduction: When the kidneys or liver fail, toxic metabolites accumulate in the patient's blood, causing cardiovascular and neurotoxic complications and increased mortality. Conventional membrane-based extracorporeal blood purification procedures cannot remove these toxins efficiently. The aim of this in vitro study was to determine whether commercial hemoperfusion adsorbers are suitable for removing protein-bound retention solutes from human plasma and whole blood as well as to compare the removal to conventional hemodialysis. Methods: For in vitro testing of the removal of protein-bound substances, whole blood and plasma were spiked with uremic retention solutes (homocysteine, hippuric acid, indoxyl sulfate, 3-carboxy-4-methyl-5-propyl-2-furanpropionic acid) and the toxins of liver failure (bilirubin, cholic acid, tryptophan, phenol). Subsequently, the protein binding of each retention solute was determined. The adsorption characteristics of the hemoperfusion adsorbers, Jafron HA and Biosky MG, both approved for the adsorption of protein-bound uremic retention solutes and Cytosorb, an adsorber recommended for adsorption of cytokines, were tested by incubating them in spiked whole blood or plasma for 1 h. Subsequently, the adsorption characteristics of the adsorbers were tested in a dynamic system. For this purpose, a 6-h in vitro hemoperfusion treatment was compared with an equally long in vitro hemodialysis treatment. Results: Hippuric acid, homocysteine, indoxyl sulfate, and tryptophan were most effectively removed by hemodialysis. Bilirubin and cholic acid were removed best by hemoperfusion with Cytosorb. A treatment with Jafron HA and Biosky MG showed similar results for the adsorption of the tested retention solutes and were best for removing phenol. 3-Carboxy-4-methyl-5-propyl-2-furanpropionic acid could not be removed with any treatment method. Discussion/Conclusion: A combination of hemodialysis with hemoperfusion seems promising to improve the removal of some toxic metabolites in extracorporeal therapies. However, some very strongly protein-bound metabolites cannot be removed adequately with the adsorbers tested.

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