Serum levels of fibroblast growth factor 23 are elevated in patients with active Lupus nephritis

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), a phosphate-regulating hormone is an established cardiovascular risk factor. Recently, FGF23 has been related to inflammation. Lupus is an inflammatory disease, and whether FGF23 is associated with Lupus nephritis (LN) activity is unknown.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

We studied 15 pre-menopausal patients with recent LN diagnose (≤2 months) and compared them to 1:1 age-matched healthy control group. We measured serum levels of intact FGF23, interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), and urinary levels of monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP1).

RESULTS

LN patients (29.5 ± 10 years) presented proteinuria of 4.7 ± 2.9 g/day, and estimated glomerular filtration rate of 37 (31–87) ml/min/1.73 m2. They demonstrated higher FGF23 levels when compared to healthy controls [106.7 (80.3–179) vs. 33.6 (25.8–60.9) pg/ml, p < 0.001]. FGF23 levels correlated with urinary MCP1 (r = 0.62, p < 0.001), serum TNFα (r = 0.58, p < 0.001) and serum IL-6 (r = 0.46, p = 0.01). Only the correlation between FGF23 and MCP1 remained significant after adjustments for 25(OH) vitamin D and renal function.

CONCLUSION

Newly diagnosed LN patients demonstrated elevated FGF23 levels that were positively correlated to urinary MCP1, independently of vitamin D levels and kidney function. If FGF23 may predict clinical outcomes in LN warrants further evaluation.

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