Association of Plasma Branched-Chain and Aromatic Amino Acids with Reduction in Kidney Function Evaluated in Apparently Healthy Adults

J Clin Med. 2021 Nov 10;10(22):5234. doi: 10.3390/jcm10225234.


The published literature on the association of circulatory branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and aromatic amino acids (AAAs) with reduced kidney function is inconsistent or conflicting. Clarification of it might help to better understand the underlying pathophysiology and to determine potential biomarkers for early detection and evaluation of kidney function decline. Our main purpose was to explore and clarify the potential relationships of individual BCAAs and AAAs with estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) decline. We included the data from 2804 healthy subjects and categorized them into three groups based on eGFR tertiles. The associations between individual amino acids and eGFR were explored by covariate-adjusted logistic regression models. There was a progressive increase in the concentrations of BCAAs and AAAs from the upper to the lower tertiles. We revealed significant positive associations of isoleucine, leucine, and phenylalanine with lower tertiles of eGFR in the adjusted models (p < 0.01-0.001). The findings hold a promising potential of using plasma isoleucine, leucine, and phenylalanine levels for evaluation of kidney function decline. Future longitudinal studies should investigate the causal association between altered levels of these amino acids and impaired kidney function and also the utility of the former as potential biomarkers for evaluating the risk and early detection of the latter.

Keywords: aromatic; branched-chain; glomerular filtration rate; kidney function decline; plasma amino acids.