Researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have linked elevated levels of a hormone known as FGF23 to an increased risk of kidney failure and death in patients with early stages of chronic kidney disease. FGF23 regulates phosphorus, which is vital to bone health and cellular function, but potentially harmful to patients whose kidneys are no longer able to remove the excess mineral from the blood. High phosphate levels in CKD patients can cause serious bone and heart problems and may make kidney disease worse. “Since FGF23 rises before phosphate in people with early or intermediate-stage chronic kidney disease, this hormone could be an early marker – like a road sign – pointing to patients who may benefit from early management of phosphate levels, which may help preserve kidney function and reduce deaths,” said senior study author Myles Wolf, M.D., M.M.Sc. Further study is needed to determine whether FGF23 is more than a marker and whether reducing levels of the hormone might actually improve patient outcomes.
NIH Researchers Identify New Marker to Predict Progressive Kidney Failure, Death, NIH, June 14, 2011