Hemodialysis, one of the earliest artificial kidney systems, removes uremic toxins via diffusion through a semipermeable porous membrane into the dialysate fluid. Miniaturization of the present hemodialysis system into a portable and wearable device to maintain continuous removal of uremic toxins would require that the amount of dialysate used within a closed-system is greatly reduced. Diffused uremic toxins within a closed-system dialysate need to be removed to maintain the optimum concentration gradient for continuous uremic toxin removal by the dialyzer. In this dialysate regenerative system, adsorption of uremic toxins by nanoporous biomaterials is essential. Throughout the years of artificial kidney development, activated carbon has been identified as a potential adsorbent for uremic toxins. Adsorption of uremic toxins necessitates nanoporous biomaterials, especially activated carbon. Nanoporous biomaterials are also utilized in hemoperfusion for uremic toxin removal. Further miniaturization of artificial kidney system and improvements on uremic toxin adsorption capacity would require high performance nanoporous biomaterials which possess not only higher surface area, controlled pore size, but also designed architecture or structure and surface functional groups. This article reviews on various nanoporous biomaterials used in current artificial kidney systems and several emerging nanoporous biomaterials. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 105B: 1232-1240, 2017.
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