Individuals age >65 years old are the fastest expanding population demographic throughout the developed world. Consequently, more aged patients than before are receiving diagnoses of impaired renal function and nephrosclerosis-age-associated histologic changes in the kidneys. Recent studies have shown that the aged kidney undergoes a range of structural changes and has altered transcriptomic, hemodynamic, and physiologic behavior at rest and in response to renal insults. These changes impair the ability of the kidney to withstand and recover from injury, contributing to the high susceptibility of the aged population to AKI and their increased propensity to develop subsequent progressive CKD. In this review, we examine these features of the aged kidney and explore the various validated and putative pathways contributing to the changes observed with aging in both experimental animal models and humans. We also discuss the potential for additional study to increase understanding of the aged kidney and lead to novel therapeutic strategies.
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