Association of osteopontin with kidney function and kidney failure in chronic kidney disease patients: the GCKD study

Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2023 May 31;38(6):1430-1438. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfac173.


Background: Osteopontin (OPN), synthesized in the thick ascending limb of Henle's loop and in the distal tubule, is involved in the pathogenesis of kidney fibrosis, a hallmark of kidney failure (KF). In a cohort of chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, we evaluated OPN's association with kidney markers and KF.

Methods: OPN was measured from baseline serum samples of German Chronic Kidney Disease study participants. Cross-sectional regression models for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR) as well as Cox regression models for all-cause mortality and KF were evaluated to estimate the OPN effect. Additionally, the predictive ability of OPN and time-dependent population-attributable fraction were evaluated.

Results: Over a median follow-up of 6.5 years, 471 KF events and 629 deaths occurred among 4950 CKD patients. One-unit higher log(OPN) was associated with 5.5 mL/min/1.73 m2 lower eGFR [95% confidence interval (95% CI) -6.4 to -4.6] and 1% change in OPN with 0.7% higher UACR (estimated effect 0.7, 95% CI 0.6-0.8). Moreover, higher OPN levels were associated with a higher risk of KF [hazard ratio (HR) 1.4, 95% CI 1.2-1.7] and all-cause mortality (HR 1.5, 95% CI 1.3-1.8). After 6 years, 31% of the KF events could be attributed to higher OPN levels (95% CI 3%-56%).

Conclusions: In this study, higher OPN levels were associated with kidney function markers worsening and a higher risk for adverse outcomes. A larger proportion of KF could be attributed to higher OPN levels, warranting further research on OPN with regards to its role in CKD progression and possible treatment options.

Keywords: ESKD; UACR; eGFR; mortality in CKD; osteopontin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Osteopontin
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic*


  • Osteopontin