Muscle biopsies from gastrocnemius muscles were found not to differ (P>0.05) in fibre type distribution, MyHC (myosin heavy chain) expression or fibre CSA (cross-sectional area) between the two groups. There were, however, significant differences (P<0.05) in CC/F (capillary contact/fibre), C/F (capillary to fibre ratio) and cytochrome c oxidase activity. The HD group had 33% more CC/F, with a 19% higher C/F and 33% greater cytochrome c activity in glycolytic fibres (II) than the CAPD group. There were no apparent differences in age, gender, co-morbidity, self-reported physical activity or physical functioning between the two groups, which could account for the difference in muscle capillarity between the groups. The HD patients were, however, administered heparin as a routine part of the dialysis therapy. The possibility is discussed that heparin in combination with mild anaemia and acidosis may have augmented angiogenesis in the HD patients
The study suggests that capillary formation might be enhanced in renal failure patients who receive haemodialysis – this may be the result of the administration of heparin combined with mild anaemia and acidosis. The research was part of the PhD research of Giorgos Sakkas under the direction of Professor Anthony J Sargeant.