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1.  Association between Density of Coronary Artery Calcification and Serum Magnesium Levels among Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0163673.
The Agatston score, commonly used to quantify coronary artery calcification (CAC), is determined by the plaque area and density. Despite an excellent predictability of the Agatston score for cardiovascular events, the density of CAC has never been studied in patients with pre-dialysis chronic kidney disease (CKD). This study aimed to analyze the CAC density and its association with serum mineral levels in CKD.
We enrolled patients with pre-dialysis CKD who had diabetes mellitus, prior cardiovascular disease history, elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, or smoking history. The average CAC density was calculated by dividing the Agatston score by the total area of CAC.
The mean estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 109 enrolled patients was 35.7 mL/min/1.73 m2. The correlation of the Agatston score with density was much weaker than that with the total area (R2 = 0.19, P < 0.001; and R2 = 0.99, P < 0.001, respectively). Multivariate analyses showed that serum magnesium level was inversely associated with the density, but not with the total area, after adjustment for demographics and clinical factors related to malnutrition-inflammation-atherosclerosis syndrome and mineral and bone disorders including fibroblast growth factor 23 (P = 0.006). This inverse association was pronounced among patients with higher serum phosphate levels (P for interaction = 0.02).
CAC density was inversely associated with serum magnesium levels, particularly in patients with higher serum phosphate levels.
PMCID: PMC5035086  PMID: 27662624
2.  Serum Uric Acid Level Predicts Progression of IgA Nephropathy in Females but Not in Males 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(8):e0160828.
Immunoglobulin A nephropathy (IgAN) is one of most common forms of glomerulonephritis. At this point, the clinical impact of hyperuricemia on IgAN is not clear. The aim of the present study was to explore the clinical impact of hyperuricemia on the progression of IgAN.
Study Design
Multicenter retrospective cohort study.
Setting & Participants
935 IgAN patients who were diagnosed by kidney biopsy at Osaka University Hospital, Osaka General Hospital, and Osaka Rosai Hospital. were included in this study.
Uric acid levels at renal biopsy.
The outcome of interest was the time from the kidney biopsy to the time when a 50% increase in the baseline serum creatinine level was observed, which was defined as "progression".
The baseline characteristics according to the kidney biopsy at the time of diagnosis were collected from the medical records, and included age, gender, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes (use of antidiabetic drugs), serum levels of creatinine, urinary protein, smoking status, RAAS blockers and steroid therapy.
An elevated serum uric acid level was an independent risk factor for progression in female patients (per 1.0 mg/dL, multivariate-adjusted incident rate ratio 1.33 [95% confidence interval 1.07, 1.64], P = 0.008) but not in male patients (1.02 [0.81, 1.29], P = 0.855). To control a confounding effect of renal function on an association between serum uric acid level and progression in female patients, age- and serum creatinine-matched and propensity score-matched analyses were performed, and these results also supported the effect by uric acid on kidney disease progression independent of basal kidney function.
A cohort analyzed retorospectively.
This study revealed that an elevated uric acid level was an independent risk factor for ESKD in female IgAN patients. Therefore, uric acid might be a treatable target in female IgAN patients.
PMCID: PMC4999279  PMID: 27560997
3.  Klotho-related Molecules Upregulated by Smoking Habit in Apparently Healthy Men: A Cross-sectional Study 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:14230.
While aging is unavoidable, the aging mechanism is still unclear because of its complexity. Smoking causes premature death and is considered as an environmental aging accelerator. In the present study, we focused on the influence of smoking to the serum concentration of anti-aging protein α-klotho (αKl) and the β-klotho-associated protein fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-21 in men. Subjects consisted of apparently healthy men over 40 years of age who underwent health examination. Physical and biochemical parameters, including the levels of several cytokines and growth factors, were obtained from the subjects. Among middle-aged men (46.1 ± 5.1 years), serum levels of FGF-21, soluble αKl (sαKl), and inflammation-related cytokine interleukin (IL)-6 were significantly higher in smokers than in never-smokers. Serum levels of FGF-21 increased and correlated with alanine transaminase, γ guanosine-5′-triphosphate, and total cholesterol only in smokers, suggesting FGF-21 as a metabolic disorder-related factor in smokers. In aged men (60.3 ± 1.7 years), although the serum levels of sαKl in never-smokers were low, smokers showed highly increased serum levels of sαKl. Serum levels of sαKl was correlated with IL-6 in middle-aged never-smokers, suggesting sαKl regulates IL-6. However, this correlation was disrupted in smokers and aged men.
PMCID: PMC4585559  PMID: 26382974
4.  Association between Combined Lifestyle Factors and Non-Restorative Sleep in Japan: A Cross-Sectional Study Based on a Japanese Health Database 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e108718.
Although lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoking, excessive drinking, obesity, low or no exercise, and unhealthy dietary habits have each been associated with inadequate sleep, little is known about their combined effect. The aim of this study was to quantify the overall impact of lifestyle-related factors on non-restorative sleep in the general Japanese population.
Methods and Findings
A cross-sectional study of 243,767 participants (men, 39.8%) was performed using the Specific Health Check and Guidance System in Japan. A healthy lifestyle score was calculated by adding up the number of low-risk lifestyle factors for each participant. Low risk was defined as (1) not smoking, (2) body mass index<25 kg/m2, (3) moderate or less alcohol consumption, (4) regular exercise, and (5) better eating patterns. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between the score and the prevalence of non-restorative sleep, which was determined from questionnaire responses. Among 97,062 men (mean age, 63.9 years) and 146,705 women (mean age, 63.7 years), 18,678 (19.2%) and 38,539 (26.3%) reported non-restorative sleep, respectively. The prevalence of non-restorative sleep decreased with age for both sexes. Compared to participants with a healthy lifestyle score of 5 (most healthy), those with a score of 0 (least healthy) had a higher prevalence of non-restorative sleep (odds ratio, 1.59 [95% confidence interval, 1.29–1.97] for men and 2.88 [1.74–4.76] for women), independently of hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. The main limitation of the study was the cross-sectional design, which limited causal inferences for the identified associations.
A combination of several unhealthy lifestyle factors was associated with non-restorative sleep among the general Japanese population. Further studies are needed to establish whether general lifestyle modification improves restorative sleep.
PMCID: PMC4182544  PMID: 25268956
5.  Budget impact analysis of chronic kidney disease mass screening test in Japan 
Our recently published cost-effectiveness study on chronic kidney disease mass screening test in Japan evaluated the use of dipstick test, serum creatinine (Cr) assay or both in specific health checkup (SHC). Mandating the use of serum Cr assay additionally, or the continuation of current policy mandating dipstick test only was found cost-effective. This study aims to examine the affordability of previously suggested reforms.
Budget impact analysis was conducted assuming the economic model would be good for 15 years and applying a population projection. Costs expended by social insurers without discounting were counted as budgets.
Annual budget impacts of mass screening compared with do-nothing scenario were calculated as ¥79–¥−1,067 million for dipstick test only, ¥2,505–¥9,235 million for serum Cr assay only and ¥2,517–¥9,251 million for the use of both during a 15-year period. Annual budget impacts associated with the reforms were calculated as ¥975–¥4,129 million for mandating serum Cr assay in addition to the currently used mandatory dipstick test, and ¥963–¥4,113 million for mandating serum Cr assay only and abandoning dipstick test.
Estimated values associated with the reform from ¥963–¥4,129 million per year over 15 years are considerable amounts of money under limited resources. The most impressive finding of this study is the decreasing additional expenditures in dipstick test only scenario. This suggests that current policy which mandates dipstick test only would contain medical care expenditure.
PMCID: PMC4271136  PMID: 24515308
CKD; Budget impact; Dipstick test; Mass screening; Proteinuria; Serum creatinine assay
6.  Association of High Pulse Pressure With Proteinuria in Subjects With Diabetes, Prediabetes, or Normal Glucose Tolerance in a Large Japanese General Population Sample 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(6):1310-1315.
To examine whether there is a difference in the association between high pulse pressure and proteinuria, independent of other blood pressure (BP) indices, such as systolic or diastolic BP, among subjects with diabetes, prediabetes, or normal glucose tolerance.
Using a nationwide health checkup database of 228,778 Japanese aged ≥20 years (mean 63.2 years; 39.3% men; none had pre-existing cardiovascular disease), we examined the association between high pulse pressure, defined as the highest quintile of pulse pressure (≥63 mmHg, n = 40,511), and proteinuria (≥1+ on dipstick, n = 12,090) separately in subjects with diabetes (n = 27,913), prediabetes (n = 100,214), and normal glucose tolerance (n = 100,651).
The prevalence of proteinuria was different among subjects with diabetes, prediabetes, and normal glucose tolerance (11.3 vs. 5.0 vs. 3.9%, respectively; P < 0.001). In subjects with diabetes, but not those with prediabetes or normal glucose tolerance, high pulse pressure was associated with proteinuria independently of significant covariates, including systolic BP (odds ratio 1.15 [95% CI 1.04–1.28]) or diastolic or mean BP (all P < 0.01). In patients with diabetes, a +1 SD increase of pulse pressure (+13 mmHg) was associated with proteinuria, even after adjustment for systolic BP (1.07 [1.00–1.13]) or diastolic or mean BP (all P < 0.05).
Among the Japanese general population, there was a significant difference in the association between high pulse pressure and proteinuria among subjects with diabetes, prediabetes, and normal glucose tolerance. Only in diabetes was high pulse pressure associated with proteinuria independent of systolic, diastolic, or mean BP levels.
PMCID: PMC3357237  PMID: 22474041
7.  Cost-effectiveness of chronic kidney disease mass screening test in Japan 
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a significant public health problem. Strategy for its early detection is still controversial. This study aims to assess the cost-effectiveness of population strategy, i.e. mass screening, and Japan’s health checkup reform.
Cost-effectiveness analysis was carried out to compare test modalities in the context of reforming Japan’s mandatory annual health checkup for adults. A decision tree and Markov model with societal perspective were constructed to compare dipstick test to check proteinuria only, serum creatinine (Cr) assay only, or both.
Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) of mass screening compared with do-nothing were calculated as ¥1,139,399/QALY (US $12,660/QALY) for dipstick test only, ¥8,122,492/QALY (US $90,250/QALY) for serum Cr assay only and ¥8,235,431/QALY (US $91,505/QALY) for both. ICERs associated with the reform were calculated as ¥9,325,663/QALY (US $103,618/QALY) for mandating serum Cr assay in addition to the currently used mandatory dipstick test, and ¥9,001,414/QALY (US $100,016/QALY) for mandating serum Cr assay and applying dipstick test at discretion.
Taking a threshold to judge cost-effectiveness according to World Health Organization’s recommendation, i.e. three times gross domestic product per capita of ¥11.5 million/QALY (US $128 thousand/QALY), a policy that mandates serum Cr assay is cost-effective. The choice of continuing the current policy which mandates dipstick test only is also cost-effective. Our results suggest that a population strategy for CKD detection such as mass screening using dipstick test and/or serum Cr assay can be justified as an efficient use of health care resources in a population with high prevalence of the disease such as in Japan and Asian countries.
PMCID: PMC3328680  PMID: 22167460
Chronic kidney disease; Cost-effectiveness; Dipstick test; Mass screening; Proteinuria; Serum creatinine
8.  Abdominal obesity exhibits distinct effect on inflammatory and anti-inflammatory proteins in apparently healthy Japanese men 
Since visceral fat tissue is known to release various inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, abdominal obesity may play a key role in the inflammation associated with metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, few studies have determined precise relationships of abdominal obesity with inflammatory markers in MetS. To clarify the importance of abdominal obesity in sub-clinical inflammation, we examined the changes of inflammatory markers in clustering of MetS components with or without abdominal obesity.
Subjects consisted of 326 apparently healthy Japanese men (age: 30 to 59 years) who underwent health examination in the Osaka University Health Care Center. MetS components were assessed and serum levels of high sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin (IL)-6 and adiponectin were examined in all subjects.
Subjects with abdominal obesity (waist circumference ≥ 85 cm) showed higher serum hs-CRP and IL-6 levels and a lower adiponectin level than those without abdominal obesity. Serum levels of hs-CRP and IL-6 significantly increased in association with clustering of MetS components in the subjects with abdominal obesity, but not in those without abdominal obesity. On the other hand, serum adiponectin level exhibited a little change with clustering of MetS components in the subjects with abdominal obesity. Significant negative correlation between adiponectin and hs-CRP was observed in the subjects with abdominal obesity, however this correlation was not detected in obese subjects defined by body mass index ≥ 25.
Inflammatory status is not exaggerated by clustering of MetS components in the subjects without abdominal obesity. Abdominal obesity may exhibit distinct effect on inflammatory and anti-inflammatory proteins and modulate inflammatory network in MetS.
PMCID: PMC2173887  PMID: 17903275

Results 1-8 (8)