Background: Angiotensin II (ANG II) and advanced glycation end products (AGEs) exert genotoxic effects in vitro which were prevented by the ANG II type 1 (AT1) receptor blocker, candesartan. In end-stage renal disease (ESRD) the incidence of genomic damage is increased. A stimulation of the renin-angiotensin system and accumulation of AGEs could be involved. Methods: We tested whether oral co-administration of candesartan modulates enhanced DNA damage in ESRD patients. Fifteen maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients with mild hypertension were treated with candesartan for 4.5 months. Fourteen MHD patients served as conventionally treated uremic controls. DNA damage was measured as micronucleus frequency (MNF) in peripheral blood lymphocytes and evaluated three times before candesartan therapy and afterwards every 6 weeks. Results: Compared to 14 healthy controls, MNF at baseline was significantly elevated in MHD patients. While in the conventionally treated MHD patients the enhanced DNA damage persisted, the co-administration of candesartan ameliorated the genomic damage significantly and independently of blood pressure changes. Conclusion: Blockade of AT1 receptors with candesartan can reduce DNA damage in MHD patients. Long-term studies in larger patient groups are needed to investigate whether the improved genomic damage lowers atherosclerotic complications and cancer development.

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