Klotho gene, phosphocalcic metabolism, and survival in dialysis

J Ren Nutr. 2009 Jan;19(1):50-6. doi: 10.1053/j.jrn.2008.10.018.


The discovery that two recently identified molecules, klotho and fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), played an important role in calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D metabolism has transformed our traditional physiological view in which bone and mineral homeostasis was mainly regulated by parathyroid hormone, vitamin D, and calcitonin, according to mineral body needs. FGF23 is a 251-amino acid secreted protein produced by osteoblasts and osteocytes in bone following the stimulation by phosphate and vitamin D or the inhibition by dentin matrix protein 1. Originally isolated from tumoral cells of patients with tumor-induced osteomalacia and hypophosphatemia, FGF23 inhibits phosphate reabsorption in renal proximal tubular cells and 1alpha-hydroxylase activity, resulting in decreased synthesis of calcitriol. To exert these actions, FGF23 requires the conversion, by klotho, of the canonical FGF receptor 1 (IIIc) in a specific high affinity FGF23 receptor. On the other hand, klotho is a putative antiaging gene identified in 1997 when a particular mouse strain, created by random insertion mutagenesis, was found to be short-lived and displayed premature atherosclerosis, osteopenia, skin atrophy, pulmonary emphysema, hyperphosphatemia, hypercalcemia, and high serum calcitriol levels. The gene of klotho encodes a 1012-amino acid cell-surface protein with a short cytoplasmic tail and an extracellular domain that consists in tandem duplicated copies of a beta-glucuronidase-like sequence, which can be released into the circulation as soluble forms after being cleaved by metalloproteinases such as ADAM10 and ADAM17. By modulating FGF23 action, klotho regulates urinary phosphate excretion and calcitriol synthesis. By virtue of its beta-glucuronidase activity, klotho deglycosylates the calcium channel TRPV5 (transient receptor potential vallinoid-5) and regulates urinary calcium excretion. klotho also binds to Na(+),K(+)-ATPase in parathyroid cells and regulates calcium-stimulated PTH secretion. Finally, klotho extends life span via several mechanisms, including the reduction of calcitriol synthesis, serum calcium, and phosphorus levels; the induction of insulin resistance; and by increasing the resistance to oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / physiology*
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Glucuronidase / physiology*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / mortality
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Klotho Proteins
  • Phosphates / metabolism*
  • Renal Dialysis / methods
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / metabolism
  • TRPV Cation Channels / genetics
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*


  • FGF23 protein, human
  • Fgf23 protein, mouse
  • Phosphates
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • Vitamin D
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Glucuronidase
  • Klotho Proteins
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase
  • Calcium