Tissue expression and source of circulating αKlotho

Bone. 2017 Jul;100:19-35. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2017.03.043. Epub 2017 Mar 18.


αKlotho (Klotho), a type I transmembrane protein and a coreceptor for Fibroblast Growth Factor-23, was initially thought to be expressed only in a limited number of tissues, most importantly the kidney, parathyroid gland and choroid plexus. Emerging data may suggest a more ubiquitous Klotho expression pattern which has prompted reevaluation of the restricted Klotho paradigm. Herein we systematically review the evidence for Klotho expression in various tissues and cell types in humans and other mammals, and discuss potential reasons behind existing conflicting data. Based on current literature and tissue expression atlases, we propose a classification of tissues into high, intermediate and low/absent Klotho expression. The functional relevance of Klotho in organs with low expression levels remain uncertain and there is currently limited data on a role for membrane-bound Klotho outside the kidney. Finally, we review the evidence for the tissue source of soluble Klotho, and conclude that the kidney is likely to be the principal source of circulating Klotho in physiology.

Keywords: FGF-23; FGF23; Klotho.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choroid Plexus / metabolism
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / genetics
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Glucuronidase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Parathyroid Glands / metabolism


  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • fibroblast growth factor 23
  • Glucuronidase
  • klotho protein