Metabolites associate with kidney function decline and incident chronic kidney disease in the general population

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2013 Aug;28(8):2131-8. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gft217. Epub 2013 Jun 5.


Background: Serum metabolites are associated cross-sectionally with kidney function in population-based studies.

Methods: Using flow injection and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry methods, we examined longitudinal associations of baseline concentrations of 140 metabolites and their 19 460 ratios with kidney function decline and chronic kidney disease (CKD) incidence over 7 years in 1104 participants of the Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg S4/F4 study.

Results: Corrected for multiple testing, a significant association with annual change in the estimated glomerular filtration rate was observed for spermidine (P = 5.8 × 10(-7)) and two metabolite ratios, the phosphatidylcholine diacyl C42:5-to-phosphatidylcholine acyl-alkyl C36:0 ratio (P = 1.5 × 10(-6)) and the kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio (P = 1.9 × 10(-6)). The kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio was also associated with significantly higher incidence of CKD at the follow-up visit with an odds ratio of 1.36 per standard deviation increase; 95% confidence interval 1.11-1.66, P = 2.7 × 10(-3)). In separate analyses, the predictive ability of the metabolites was assessed: both the three significantly associated metabolite (ratios) as well as a panel of 35 metabolites selected from all metabolites in an unbiased fashion provided as much but not significantly more prognostic information than selected clinical predictors as judged by the area under the curve.

Conclusions: Baseline serum concentrations of spermidine and two metabolite ratios were associated with kidney function change over subsequent years in the general population. In separate analyses, baseline serum metabolites were able to predict incident CKD to a similar but not better extent than selected clinical parameters. Our longitudinal findings provide a basis for targeted studies of certain metabolic pathways, e.g. tryptophan metabolism, and their relation to kidney function decline.

Keywords: GFR; incident chronic kidney disease; kidney function loss; metabolites; prediction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • ROC Curve
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry