Circulating metabolites associated with kidney function decline and incident CKD: a multi-platform population-based study

Anna C. van der Burgh, Sven Geurts, Shahzad Ahmad, M. Arfan Ikram, Layal Chaker, Pietro Manuel Ferraro, Mohsen Ghanbari*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background. Investigation of circulating metabolites associated with kidney function and chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk could enhance our understanding of underlying pathways and identify new biomarkers for kidney function. Methods. We selected participants from the population-based Rotterdam Study with data on circulating metabolites and estimated glomerular filtration rate based on serum creatinine (eGFRcreat) available at the same time point. Data on eGFR based on serum cystatin C (eGFRcys) and urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) were also included. CKD was defined as eGFRcreat <60 ml/min per 1.73 m2. Data on circulating metabolites (ntotal = 1381) was obtained from the Nightingale and Metabolon platform. Linear regression, linear mixed, and Cox proportional-hazards regression analyses were conducted to study the associations between metabolites and kidney function. We performed bidirectional two-sample Mendelian randomization analyses to investigate causality of the identified associations. Results. We included 3337 and 1540 participants with data from Nightingale and Metabolon, respectively. A total of 1381 metabolites (243 from Nightingale and 1138 from Metabolon) were included in the analyses. A large number of metabolites were significantly associated with eGFRcreat, eGFRcys, ACR, and CKD, including 16 metabolites that were associated with all four outcomes. Among these, C-glycosyltryptophan (HR 1.50, 95%CI 1.31;1.71) and X-12026 (HR 1.46, 95%CI 1.26;1.68) were most strongly associated with CKD risk. We revealed sex differences in the associations of 11-ketoetiocholanolone glucuronide and 11-beta-glucuronide with the kidney function assessments. No causal associations between the identified metabolites and kidney function were observed. Conclusion. Our study indicates that several circulating metabolites are associated with kidney function which are likely to have potential as biomarkers, rather than as molecules involved in the pathophysiology of kidney function decline.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbersfad286
JournalClinical Kidney Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

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© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the ERA.


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