Fibroblast growth factor 23 and the antiproteinuric response to dietary sodium restriction during renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system blockade

Am J Kidney Dis. 2015 Feb;65(2):259-66. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2014.07.022. Epub 2014 Sep 30.


Background: Residual proteinuria during renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) blockade is a major renal and cardiovascular risk factor in chronic kidney disease. Dietary sodium restriction potentiates the antiproteinuric effect of RAAS blockade, but residual proteinuria remains in many patients. Previous studies linked high fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23) levels with volume overload; others linked higher serum phosphate levels with impaired RAAS-blockade efficacy. We hypothesized that FGF-23 reduces the capacity of dietary sodium restriction to potentiate RAAS blockade, impairing the antiproteinuric effect.

Study design: Post hoc analysis of cohort data from a randomized crossover trial with two 6-week study periods comparing proteinuria after a regular-sodium diet with proteinuria after a low-sodium diet, both during background angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibition.

Setting & participants: 47 nondiabetic patients with CKD with residual proteinuria (median protein excretion, 1.9 [IQR, 0.8-3.1] g/d; mean age, 50±13 [SD] years; creatinine clearance, 69 [IQR, 50-110] mL/min).

Predictor: Plasma carboxy-terminal FGF-23 levels.

Outcomes: Difference in residual proteinuria at the end of the regular-sodium versus low-sodium study period. Residual proteinuria during the low-sodium diet period adjusted for proteinuria during the regular-sodium diet period.

Results: Higher baseline FGF-23 level was associated with reduced antiproteinuric response to dietary sodium restriction (standardized β=-0.46; P=0.001; model R(2)=0.71). For every 100-RU/mL increase in FGF-23 level, the antiproteinuric response to dietary sodium restriction was reduced by 10.6%. Higher baseline FGF-23 level was a determinant of more residual proteinuria during the low-sodium diet (standardized β=0.27; P=0.003) in linear regression analysis adjusted for baseline proteinuria (model R(2)=0.71). There was no interaction with creatinine clearance (P interaction=0.5). Baseline FGF-23 level did not predict changes in systolic or diastolic blood pressure upon intensified antiproteinuric treatment.

Limitations: Observational study, limited sample size.

Conclusions: FGF-23 levels are associated independently with impaired antiproteinuric response to sodium restriction in addition to RAAS blockade. Future studies should address whether FGF-23-lowering strategies may further optimize proteinuria reduction by RAAS blockade combined with dietary sodium restriction.

Keywords: Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23); angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB); angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor; antiproteinuric; chronic kidney disease (CKD); phosphaturic hormone; proteinuria; renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) blockade; sodium restriction; volume overload.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aldosterone / blood*
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted* / trends
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteinuria / blood*
  • Proteinuria / diet therapy
  • Proteinuria / drug therapy
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / drug effects
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / blood*


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Biomarkers
  • FGF23 protein, human
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Aldosterone
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor-23