Social Determinants of Health and Their Impact on the Black Race Coefficient in Serum Creatinine-Based Estimation of GFR: Secondary Analysis of MDRD and CRIC Studies

Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2023 Apr 1;18(4):446-454. doi: 10.2215/CJN.0000000000000109. Epub 2023 Mar 6.


Background: The cause for differences in serum creatinine between Black and non-Black individuals incorporated into prior GFR-estimating equations is not understood. We explored whether social determinants of health can account for this difference.

Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of baseline data of the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease and Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort studies ( N =1628 and 1423, respectively). Data in both study cohorts were stratified by race (Black versus non-Black). We first evaluated the extent to which the coefficient of Black race in estimating GFR from creatinine is explained by correlations of race with social determinants of health and non-GFR determinants of creatinine. Second, we evaluated whether the difference between race groups in adjusted mean creatinine can be explained by social determinants of health and non-GFR determinants of creatinine.

Results: In models regressing measured GFR on creatinine, age, sex, and race, the coefficient for Black race was 21% (95% confidence interval, 0.176 to 0.245) in Modification of Diet in Renal Disease and 13% (95% confidence interval, 0.097 to 0.155) in the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort and was not attenuated by the addition of social determinants of health, alone or in combination. In both studies, the coefficient for Black race was larger at lower versus higher income levels. In models, regressing creatinine on measured GFR, age, and sex, mean creatinine was higher in Black versus non-Black participants in both studies, with no effect of social determinants of health.

Conclusions: Adjustment for selected social determinants of health did not influence the relationship between Black race and creatinine-based estimated GFR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Creatinine
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / diagnosis
  • Social Determinants of Health*


  • Creatinine