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1.  Lower estimated GFR and higher albuminuria are associated with adverse kidney outcomes in both general and high-risk populations 
Kidney international  2011;80(1):93-104.
Both low eGFR and albuminuria are known risk factors for ESRD. This paper focuses on their joint contribution to ESRD and other kidney outcomes.
We performed a collaborative meta-analysis of 9 general population cohorts with 845,125 participants and 8 cohorts with 173,892 participants selected because of high risk for chronic kidney disease. Both eGFR and albuminuria were tested as risk factors for ESRD, acute kidney injury and progressive chronic kidney disease.
In general population cohorts, the risk for ESRD was unrelated to eGFR at values 75–105 ml/min/1.73m2 and increased exponentially at lower eGFR. Hazard ratios (95% confidence interval) at eGFR 60, 45, and 15 (versus 95) ml/min/1.73m2 were 3.69 (2.36–5.76), 29.3 (19.5–44.1) and 454.9 (112.4–1840.2), respectively, after adjustment for albumin-to-creatinine ratio and cardiovascular risk factors. Albuminuria was associated with ESRD risk linearly without thresholds. Adjusted hazard ratios at albumin-to-creatinine ratios 30, 300 and 1000 (versus 5) mg/g were 4.87 (2.30–10.3), 13.4 (5.49–32.7) and 28.4 (14.9–54.2), respectively. eGFR and albuminuria were multiplicatively associated with ESRD, without evidence for interaction. Similar, but numerically less pronounced associations were observed for acute kidney injury and progressive chronic kidney disease. The findings in high risk cohorts were generally comparable to those in general population cohorts.
In conclusion, lower eGFR and higher albuminuria are risk factors for ESRD, acute kidney injury and progressive chronic kidney disease independent of each other and of cardiovascular risk factors, both in the general population and high risk cohorts.
PMCID: PMC3959732  PMID: 21289597
Meta-analysis; eGFR (kidney function); albumin-to-creatinine ratio (albuminuria); dipstick (proteinuria); ESRD (end-stage renal disease); acute kidney injury; progressive chronic kidney disease
2.  Novel markers of kidney function as predictors of end-stage kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and mortality in the general population 
Cystatin C predicts mortality more strongly than does serum creatinine. It is unknown whether this advantage extends to other outcomes, such as kidney failure, or whether other novel renal filtration markers share this advantage in predicting outcomes.
Study Design
Observational cohort study.
Setting &Participants
9,988 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, a population-based study in 4 US communities, followed for approximately 10 years.
Serum creatinine-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcr), cystatin C, β-trace protein (BTP) and β2-microglobulin (B2M).
Mortality, coronary heart disease, heart failure and kidney failure.
Higher concentrations of cystatin C and B2M were more strongly associated with mortality (n=1425) than was BTP, and all were more strongly associated than eGFRcr (adjusted hazard ratio [95% confidence interval] for the upper 6.7 percentile compared to the lowest quintile: 1.6 [1.3-1.9] for eGFRcr; 2.9 [2.3-3.6] for cystatin C; 1.9 [1.5-2.4] for BTP; 3.0 [2.4-3.8] for B2M). Similar patterns were observed for coronary heart disease (n=1279), heart failure (n=803) and kidney failure (n=130). The addition of cystatin C, BTP and B2M to models including eGFRcr and all covariates, including urinary albumin:creatinine ratio, significantly improved risk prediction for all outcomes (p<0.001).
No direct measurement of GFR.
B2M, and to a lesser extent, BTP, share cystatin C′s advantage over eGFRcr in predicting outcomes, including kidney failure. These additional markers may be helpful in improving estimation of risk associated with reduced kidney function beyond current estimates based on eGFRcr.
PMCID: PMC3880682  PMID: 22305758
3.  Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL) and Kidney Injury Molecule 1 (KIM-1) as Predictors of Incident CKD Stage 3: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
Identifying individuals at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) is critical for timely treatment initiation to slow progression of the disease. Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and kidney injury molecule 1 (KIM-1) are known biomarkers of acute kidney injury, but it is unknown whether these markers are associated with incident CKD stage 3 in the general population.
Study Design
Matched case-control study
Setting and Participants
African American and Caucasian participants from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study who at baseline had an estimated glomerular filtration rate ≥ 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 and urinary albumin-creatinine ratio (UACR) ≤ 30 mg/g. A total of 143 controls were matched on age, sex and race to 143 cases of incident CKD stage 3 after 8.6 years of follow-up.
Quartile of NGAL and KIM-1.
Outcomes & Measurements
Incident CKD stage 3 (eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 at follow-up and a decrease in eGFR from baseline to follow-up of ≥25%)
Both NGAL (p=0.05) and KIM-1 (p<0.001) were positively correlated with baseline UACR; neither was associated with baseline eGFR. Participants with NGAL concentrations in the fourth quartile had more than 2-fold higher odds (adjusted OR, 2.11, 95% CI, 0.96–4.64) of incident CKD stage 3 compared to participants in the first quartile after multivariable adjustment (p-trend=0.03). Adjustment for urinary creatinine and albumin resulted in a non-significant association (highest quartile adjusted OR. 1.52; 95% CI, 0.64–3.58; p=0.2). No significant association between KIM-1 levels and incident CKD was observed in crude or adjusted models.
The relatively small sample size of the study limits precision and power to detect weak associations.
Higher NGAL levels, but not KIM-1 levels, were associated with incident CKD stage 3. Adjustment for urinary creatinine and albumin concentration attenuated this association. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings and assess the utility of urinary NGAL as a marker of CKD risk.
PMCID: PMC3399971  PMID: 22542304
4.  Combined Association of Albuminuria and Cystatin C–Based Estimated GFR With Mortality, Coronary Heart Disease, and Heart Failure Outcomes: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
Serum cystatin C level has been shown to have a stronger association with clinical outcomes than serum creatinine level. However, little is known about the combined association of cystatin C–based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcys) and albuminuria with clinical outcomes, particularly at levels lower than current chronic kidney disease (CKD) cutoffs.
Study Design
Prospective cohort.
Setting & Participants
10,403 ARIC (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities) Study participants followed up for a median of 10.2 years.
eGFRcys, albuminuria.
Mortality, coronary heart disease (CHD), and heart failure, as well as a composite of any of these separate outcomes.
Both decreased eGFRcys and albuminuria were associated independently with the composite outcome, as well as mortality, CHD, and heart failure. Although eGFRcys of 75-89 mL/min/1.73 m2 in the absence of albuminuria (albumin-creatinine ratio [ACR] <10 mg/g) or albuminuria with ACR of 10-29 mg/g with normal eGFRcys (90-104 mL/min/1.73 m2) was not associated significantly with any outcome compared with eGFRcys of 90-104 mL/min/1.73 m2 and ACR <10 mg/g, the risk of each outcome was significantly higher in those with both eGFRcys of 75-89 mL/min/1.73 m2 and ACR of 10-29 mg/g (for mortality, HR of 1.4 [95% CI, 1.1-2.0]; for CHD, HR of 1.9 [95% CI, 1.4-2.6]; for heart failure, HR of 1.8 [95% CI, 1.2-2.7]). Combining the 2 markers improved risk classification for all outcomes (P < 0.001), even in those without overt CKD.
Only one measurement of cystatin C.
Mildly decreased eGFRcys and mild albuminuria independently contributed to the risk of mortality, CHD, and heart failure. Even minimally decreased eGFRcys (75-89 mL/min/1.73 m2) is associated with increased risk in the presence of mild albuminuria. Combining the 2 markers is useful for improved risk stratification even in those without clinical CKD.
PMCID: PMC3582350  PMID: 22537422
Epidemiology; kidney; outcomes
5.  Association of apolipoprotein A1 and B with kidney function and chronic kidney disease in two multiethnic population samples 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2012;27(7):2839-2847.
lipoprotein risk factors for atherosclerosis, i.e., increased LDL cholesterol, increased triglycerides and decreased HDL cholesterol, also are associated with progression of loss of kidney function...Goek and coworkers describe the association of the apoliproteins A1 and B and eGFR in two large cohorts derived from the general polulation [the NHANES III (N=7,023) and the ARIC study (n=10,292)]. The results were similar in both cohorts...
Circulating lipoproteins and their protein constituents, apolipoproteins, are risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD). The associations between apolipoprotein A1, apolipoprotein B and their ratio with glomerular filtration rate estimated from the new CKD Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation (eGFR) are not well studied in the general population.
Associations between apolipoprotein A1, B and their ratio with the outcomes of eGFR, CKD (eGFR <60 mL/min/1.73m2) and albuminuria were examined in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study (ARIC, n = 10 292, 1996–98) and the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, n = 7023, 1988–91). Cross-sectional multivariable-adjusted analyses were performed using linear and logistic regression. Prospective analyses related baseline apolipoprotein levels to subsequent CKD incidence over 10 years using the ARIC Carotid MRI follow-up cohort (n = 1659).
Higher apolipoprotein A1 quartiles were associated with a lower prevalence of CKD [Q4 versus Q1: odds ratio (OR) 0.73, P-trend = 0.02 in ARIC; Q4 versus Q1: OR 0.53, P-trend <0.01 in NHANES III] as well as with higher eGFR (P-trend <0.01 in ARIC and NHANES III). No consistent significant associations were found for apolipoprotein B in either study. The apolipoprotein B/A1 ratio was significantly associated with eGFR across quartiles in both studies (P-trend <0.01) and with CKD in ARIC (Q4 versus Q1: OR 1.23, P-trend = 0.01). Prospectively, there were trends for the association of apolipoproteins with incident CKD [Q4 versus Q1: incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.68 for apolipoprotein A1, P-trend = 0.1; Q4 versus Q1: IRR = 1.35 for apolipoprotein B, P-trend = 0.2]. Associations were not systematically stronger when comparing traditional lipids (total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein or high-density lipoprotein) to apolipoproteins.
Higher serum apolipoprotein A1 was associated with lower prevalence of CKD and higher eGFR estimated by the CKD-EPI equation in two large multiethnic population-based samples. While apolipoprotein B showed no consistent associations, a higher apolipoprotein B/A1 ratio was significantly associated with lower eGFR in both studies. The direction and magnitude of the longitudinal associations between apolipoproteins and CKD incidence were overall similar to those observed cross-sectionally. No consistent differences became apparent between traditional lipids and apolipoproteins.
PMCID: PMC3471548  PMID: 22287661
apolipoprotein; ARIC; chronic kidney disease; epidemiology; NHANES
6.  Apolipoprotein L1 gene variants associate with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and the rate of kidney function decline in African Americans 
Kidney international  2012;83(1):114-120.
Despite intensive anti-hypertensive therapy there was a high incidence of renal end-points in participants of the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) cohort. To better understand this, coding variants in the apolipoprotein L1 (APOL1) and the non-muscle myosin heavy chain 9 (MYH9) genes were evaluated for an association with hypertension-attributed nephropathy and clinical outcomes in a case-control study. Clinical data and DNA were available for 675 AASK participant cases and 618 African American non-nephropathy control individuals. APOL1 G1 and G2, and MYH9 E1 variants along with 44 ancestry informative markers were genotyped with allele frequency differences between cases and controls analyzed by logistic regression multivariable models adjusting for ancestry, age, and gender. In recessive models, APOL1 risk variants were significantly associated with kidney disease in all cases compared to controls with an odds ratio of 2.57. In AASK cases with more advanced disease, such as a baseline urine protein to creatinine ratio over 0.6 g/g or a serum creatinine over 3 mg/dL during follow-up, the association was strengthened with odds ratios of 6.29 and 4.61, respectively. APOL1 risk variants were consistently associated with renal disease progression across medication classes and blood pressure targets. Thus, kidney disease in AASK participants was strongly associated with APOL1 renal risk variants.
PMCID: PMC3484228  PMID: 22832513
7.  Intensive Blood-Pressure Control in Hypertensive Chronic Kidney Disease 
The New England journal of medicine  2010;363(10):918-929.
In observational studies, the relationship between blood pressure and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is direct and progressive. The burden of hypertension-related chronic kidney disease and ESRD is especially high among black patients. Yet few trials have tested whether intensive blood-pressure control retards the progression of chronic kidney disease among black patients.
We randomly assigned 1094 black patients with hypertensive chronic kidney disease to receive either intensive or standard blood-pressure control. After completing the trial phase, patients were invited to enroll in a cohort phase in which the blood-pressure target was less than 130/80 mm Hg. The primary clinical outcome in the cohort phase was the progression of chronic kidney disease, which was defined as a doubling of the serum creatinine level, a diagnosis of ESRD, or death. Follow-up ranged from 8.8 to 12.2 years.
During the trial phase, the mean blood pressure was 130/78 mm Hg in the intensive-control group and 141/86 mm Hg in the standard-control group. During the cohort phase, corresponding mean blood pressures were 131/78 mm Hg and 134/78 mm Hg. In both phases, there was no significant between-group difference in the risk of the primary outcome (hazard ratio in the intensive-control group, 0.91; P = 0.27). However, the effects differed according to the baseline level of proteinuria (P = 0.02 for interaction), with a potential benefit in patients with a protein-to-creatinine ratio of more than 0.22 (hazard ratio, 0.73; P = 0.01).
In overall analyses, intensive blood-pressure control had no effect on kidney disease progression. However, there may be differential effects of intensive blood-pressure control in patients with and those without baseline proteinuria. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and others.)
PMCID: PMC3662974  PMID: 20818902
8.  Longitudinal Progression Trajectory of GFR Among Patients With CKD 
The traditional paradigm of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) progression among chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients is a steady, nearly linear decline over time. We describe individual GFR progression trajectories over twelve years of follow-up among participants in the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK).
Study Design
Longitudinal, observational study
Setting & Participants
846 AASK patients with at least 3 years of follow-up and 8 GFR estimates.
Longitudinal GFR estimates (eGFR) from creatinine-based equations.
Patient demographic and clinical features.
Probability of a nonlinear trajectory and probability of a period of nonprogression, calculated for each patient from a Bayesian model of individual eGFR trajectories.
Three hundred and fifty-two (41.6%) patients exhibited a greater than 0.9 probability of having either a nonlinear trajectory or a prolonged nonprogression period; in 559 (66.1%), the probability was larger than 0.5. Baseline eGFR > 40 mL/min/1.73m2 and urine protein-creatinine < 0.22 g/g were associated with a higher likelihood of a nonprogression period. Seventy-four patients (8.7%) had both a substantial period of stable or increasing eGFR and a substantial period of rapid eGFR decline.
Clinical trial population; absence of direct GFR measurements.
In contrast to the traditional paradigm of steady GFR progression over time, many CKD patients have a non-linear GFR trajectory or a prolonged period of nonprogression. These findings highlight the possibility that stable kidney disease progression can accelerate, and, conversely provide hope that CKD need not be relentlessly progressive. These results should encourage researchers to identify time-dependent factors associated with periods of nonprogression and other desirable trajectories.
PMCID: PMC3312980  PMID: 22284441
Chronic kidney disease; estimated glomerular filtration rate; nonlinear progression; longitudinal cohort study; African American; slope
9.  A Risk Score for Chronic Kidney Disease in the General Population 
The American Journal of Medicine  2012;125(3):270-277.
Stratification of individuals at risk for chronic kidney disease may allow optimization of preventive measures to reduce disease incidence and complications. We sought to develop a risk score that estimates an individual’s absolute risk of incident chronic kidney disease.
Framingham Heart Study participants free of baseline chronic kidney disease, who attended a baseline examination in 1995–1998 and follow-up in 2005–2008, were included in the analysis (n=2,490). Chronic kidney disease was defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 ml/min/1.73m2 using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation. Participants were assessed for the development of chronic kidney disease at 10 years follow-up. Stepwise logistic regression was used to identify chronic kidney disease risk factors, and these were used to construct a risk score predicting 10-year chronic kidney disease risk. Performance characteristics were assessed using calibration and discrimination measures. The final model was externally validated in the bi-ethnic Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study (n=1,777).
There were 1,171 men and 1,319 women at baseline, and the mean age was 57.1 years. At follow-up, 9.2% (n=229) had developed chronic kidney disease. Age, diabetes, hypertension, baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate and albuminuria were independently associated with incident chronic kidney disease (p<0.05), and these covariates were incorporated into a risk function (c-statistic 0.813). In external validation in the ARIC study, the c-statistic was 0.79 in whites (n=1,353) and 0.75 in blacks (n=424).
Risk stratification for chronic kidney disease is achievable using a risk score derived from clinical factors that are readily accessible in primary care. The utility of this score in identifying individuals in the community at high risk of chronic kidney disease warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3285426  PMID: 22340925
10.  Net endogenous acid production is associated with a faster decline in GFR in African Americans 
Kidney international  2012;82(1):106-112.
Increased acid excretion may promote renal injury. To evaluate this in African Americans with hypertensive nephrosclerosis, we studied the association between the net endogenous acid production and progression of kidney disease in 632 patients in the AASK trial. Protein and potassium intakes were estimated from 24-hour urea nitrogen and potassium excretion, and used to estimate net endogenous acid production, averaged over 2 years, approximating routine intake. The link between net endogenous acid production and the I125iothalamate glomerular filtration rate (iGFR) and time to end stage renal disease or doubling of serum creatinine was analyzed using mixed models and Cox proportional hazards regressions. The trend in higher net endogenous acid production was significantly associated with a faster decline in iGFR over a median of 3.2 years. After adjustment for age, body mass index, baseline iGFR, urine protein to creatinine ratio and randomized treatment group, the trend in higher net endogenous acid production remained significantly associated with a faster decline in iGFR at a rate 1.01 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year faster in the highest to the lowest quartile. However, in time to event analyses over a median of 7.7 years, the adjusted hazard ratio (1.10) for composite renal events per 25 mEq/day higher net endogenous acid production was not significant. Hence, our findings implicate endogenous acid production as a potential modifiable risk factor for progressive kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3540413  PMID: 22475819
11.  Comparison of Measured GFR, Serum Creatinine, Cystatin C, and Beta-Trace Protein to Predict ESRD in African Americans With Hypertensive CKD 
Identification of persons with chronic kidney disease (CKD) who are at highest risk to progress to end stage renal disease (ESRD) is necessary to reduce the burden of kidney failure. The relative utility of traditional markers of kidney function, including estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and serum creatinine, and emerging markers of kidney function, including cystatin C and beta-trace protein (BTP), to predict ESRD and mortality has yet to be established.
Study Design
Randomized clinical trial followed by an observational cohort study.
Setting & Participants
865 African American individuals with hypertensive CKD enrolled in a clinical trial of two levels of blood pressure control and three different antihypertensive drugs as initial therapy and subsequently followed by an observational cohort study.
Quintile of measured GFR (mGFR) by iothalamate clearance, serum creatinine, serum creatinine-based estimated GFR (eGFRSCr), cystatin C, and BTP.
Outcomes and Measurements
Incidence of ESRD and mortality.
A total of 246 participants reached ESRD over a median follow-up of 102 months. The incidence rate of ESRD was higher with higher quintiles of each marker. The association between higher BTP and ESRD was stronger than those for the other markers, including mGFR. All the markers remained significantly associated with ESRD after adjustment for mGFR and relevant covariates (all p<0.05), with BTP retaining the strongest association (HR for highest versus lowest quintile, 5.7; 95% CI, 2.2-14.9). Associations with the combined endpoint of ESRD or mortality (n=390) were weaker, but remained significant for cystatin C (p=0.05) and BTP (p=0.004).
The ability of these markers to predict ESRD and mortality in other racial and ethnic groups and among individuals with CKD due to other causes is unknown.
Plasma BTP and cystatin C may be useful adjuncts to serum creatinine and mGFR in evaluating risk for progression of kidney disease.
PMCID: PMC3221777  PMID: 21944667
End-stage renal disease; beta trace protein; cystatin C; serum creatinine; iothalamate glomerular filtration rate
12.  Trefoil Factor 3 Predicts Incident Chronic Kidney Disease: A Case-Control Study Nested within the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
American Journal of Nephrology  2011;34(4):291-297.
Early detection of individuals at high risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) may aid prevention. Urinary levels of trefoil factor 3 (TFF3) are associated with acute kidney injury in animal models, but the association of TFF3 levels with incident CKD in humans is unknown.
We conducted a case-control study nested within the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study and the ARIC Carotid MRI Study to determine whether urinary TFF3 levels predict incident CKD over 8.6 years of follow-up. A total of 143 participants with incident CKD (eGFR decreasing by ≥25% to <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) were matched on age, sex and race to 143 non-cases.
Higher TFF3 levels at baseline were strongly associated with Black race, diabetes (both p = 0.002), and antihypertensive medication use (p = 0.02). Compared to participants with TFF3 levels in the lowest quartile, the odds ratio (OR) of incident CKD was 1.84 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.80, 4.22) for individuals with TFF3 levels in the second quartile, 2.43 (95% CI: 1.06, 5.53) for the third quartile, and 2.77 (95% CI: 1.22, 6.28) for the fourth quartile (p trend = 0.02). Adjustment for covariates, including urinary albumin: creatinine ratio, did not markedly change the associations. Twofold higher TFF3 levels were strongly associated with incident CKD after adjustment for CKD risk factors (adjusted OR = 1.35; 95% CI: 1.11, 1.64).
Higher urinary TFF3 levels may indicate ongoing repair of damage in the kidney. Additional studies are needed to confirm whether TFF3 can be useful as a marker of increased risk for CKD.
PMCID: PMC3169359  PMID: 21829008
Kidney disease; Tubulointerstitual disease; Biomarkers
13.  White Blood Cell Count, C-Reactive Protein and Incident Heart Failure in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
Annals of epidemiology  2011;21(10):739-748.
To testthe hypothesis that inflammation measured by white blood cell count (WBC) and C-reactive protein (CRP) is associated positively with incident heart failure (HF).
Using the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, we conducted separate Cox proportional hazards regression analyses for WBC (measured 1987 to 1989) and CRP (measured 1996 to 1998) in relation to subsequent heart failure occurrence. A total of 14,485 and 9,978 individuals were included in the WBC and CRP analyses, respectively.
There were 1647 participants that developed HF during follow up after WBC assessment and 613 developed HF after CRP assessment. After adjustment for demographic variables and traditional HF risk factors, the hazard ratio (95% CI)for incident HF across quintiles of WBC was 1.0, 1.10 (0.9-1.34), 1.27(1.05-1.53), 1.44(1.19-1.74), and 1.62(1.34-1.96) (p trend <0.001); hazard ratio across quintiles of CRP was 1.0, 1.03 (0.68-1.55), 0.99 (0.66-1.51), 1.40 (0.94-2.09) and 1.70 (1.14-2.53) (p trend 0.002). Granulocytes appeared to drive the relation between WBCs and heart failure [hazard ratios across quintiles: 1.0, 0.93(0.76-1.15), 1.26 (1.04-1.53), 1.67(1.39-2.01) and 2.19 (1.83-2.61) (p trend <0.0001)], while lymphocytes or monocytes were not related.
Greater levels of WBC (especially granulocytes) and CRP are associated with increased risk of heart failure in middle-aged adults, independent of traditional risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3166412  PMID: 21784657
Prospective Study; Risk Factors; Heart Failure; Inflammation; C-Reactive Protein; Leukocytes; Granulocytes
14.  Chronic kidney disease and estimates of kidney function in HIV infection: a cross-sectional study in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study 
Cystatin C has been proposed as an alternative marker of kidney function among HIV-infected persons in whom serum creatinine is affected by extra-renal factors.
In this cross-sectional study, we compared estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) using serum creatinine versus cystatin C between 150 HIV-uninfected and 783 HIV-infected men. We evaluated the prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD; eGFR<60 mL/min/1.73 m2) and examined the influence of extra-renal factors on GFR-estimates among HIV-infected men.
Estimated GFRSCR was similar by HIV serostatus, but eGFRCYSC was lower in HIV-infected men. A higher proportion of HIV-infected men were classified as having CKD when using eGFRCYSC versus eGFRSCR (7% vs. 5%, P<0.01). In HIV-infected individuals without CKD, eGFRSCR was higher than eGFRCYSC while it was lower than eGFRCYSC in persons with CKD. In HIV-infected men, older age, proteinuria, and prior clinical AIDS were inversely associated with both GFR-estimates. Higher serum albumin levels and ACE-inhibitor/ARB use were associated with lower eGFRSCR. HIV viral load, hepatitis C co-infection, and serum alkaline phosphatase were inversely associated with eGFRCYSC.
Among HIV-uninfected and HIV-infected men of similar social risk behaviors, GFR estimates differed by biomarker and kidney function level. Estimated GFRCYSC classified a larger proportion of HIV-infected men with CKD compared to eGFRSCR. Differences between these GFR-estimating methods may be due to the effects of extra-renal factors on serum creatinine and cystatin C. Until GFR-estimating equations are validated among HIV-infected individuals, current GFR estimates based on these biomarkers should be interpreted with care in this patient population.
PMCID: PMC3159728  PMID: 21646913
HIV; kidney disease; serum creatinine; cystatin C; glomerular filtration rate; Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study
15.  Chronic Kidney Disease is Associated with the Incidence of Atrial Fibrillation: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
Circulation  2011;123(25):2946-2953.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is associated with the incidence of cardiovascular disease. CKD may also increase the risk of atrial fibrillation (AF), but existing studies have reported inconsistent results.
Methods and Results
We estimated cystatin C-based glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcys) and measured urinary albumin-creatinine ratio (ACR) in 10,328 men and women free of AF from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study in 1996–98. Incidence of AF was ascertained through the end of 2007. During a median follow-up of 10.1 years, we identified 788 incident AF cases. Compared to individuals with eGFRcys ≥90 mL/min/1.73 m2, multivariable hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of AF were 1.3 (1.1–1.6), 1.6 (1.3–2.1), and 3.2 (2.0–5.0) (p for trend <0.0001) in those with eGFRcys of 60–89, 30–59 and 15–29 mL/min/1.73 m2, respectively. Similarly, presence of macroalbuminuria (ACR ≥300 mg/g, HR 3.2, 95% CI 2.3–4.5) and microalbuminuria (ACR 30–299 mg/g, HR 2.0, 95% CI 1.6–2.4) were associated with higher AF risk compared to those with ACR <30 mg/g. Risk of AF was particularly elevated in those with both low eGFRcys and macroalbuminuria (HR 13.1, 95% CI 6.0–28.6, comparing individuals with ACR≥300 mg/g and eGFRcys 15–29 vs. ACR<30 mg/g and eGFRcys ≥90 mL/min/1.73 m2).
In this large population-based study, reduced kidney function and presence of albuminuria were strongly associated with the incidence of AF independently of other risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3139978  PMID: 21646496
Epidemiology; atrial fibrillation; kidney
16.  Comparing the association of GFR estimated by the CKD-EPI and MDRD study equations and mortality: the third national health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES III) 
BMC Nephrology  2012;13:42.
The Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration equation for estimation of glomerular filtration rate (eGFRCKD-EPI) improves GFR estimation compared with the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study equation (eGFRMDRD) but its association with mortality in a nationally representative population sample in the US has not been studied.
We examined the association between eGFR and mortality among 16,010 participants of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Primary predictors were eGFRCKD-EPI and eGFRMDRD. Outcomes of interest were all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. Improvement in risk categorization with eGFRCKD-EPI was evaluated using adjusted relative hazard (HR) and Net Reclassification Improvement (NRI).
Overall, 26.9% of the population was reclassified to higher eGFR categories and 2.2% to lower eGFR categories by eGFRCKD-EPI, reducing the proportion of prevalent CKD classified as stage 3–5 from 45.6% to 28.8%. There were 3,620 deaths (1,540 from CVD) during 215,082 person-years of follow-up (median, 14.3 years). Among those with eGFRMDRD 30–59 ml/min/1.73 m2, 19.4% were reclassified to eGFRCKD-EPI 60–89 ml/min/1.73 m2 and these individuals had a lower risk of all-cause mortality (adjusted HR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.34-0.84) and CVD mortality (adjusted HR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.27-0.96) compared with those not reclassified. Among those with eGFRMDRD >60 ml/min/1.73 m2, 0.5% were reclassified to lower eGFRCKD-EPI and these individuals had a higher risk of all-cause (adjusted HR, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.01-1.69) and CVD (adjusted HR, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.01-1.99) mortality compared with those not reclassified. Risk prediction improved with eGFRCKD-EPI; NRI was 0.21 for all-cause mortality (p < 0.001) and 0.22 for CVD mortality (p < 0.001).
eGFRCKD-EPI categories improve mortality risk stratification of individuals in the US population. If eGFRCKD-EPI replaces eGFRMDRD in the US, it will likely improve risk stratification.
PMCID: PMC3447668  PMID: 22702805
Glomerular filtration rate; Chronic kidney disease; Epidemiology; Outcomes
17.  Lower Urinary Connective Tissue Growth Factor Levels and Incident CKD Stage 3 in the General Population 
Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is involved in the development and progression of kidney diseases including diabetic nephropathy and kidney fibrosis, but may also play a role in mesangial repair following injury. It is unknown whether, in the general population, urinary CTGF levels are associated with reduction of estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) to less than 60 ml/min/1.73m2 (ie, development of chronic kidney disease [CKD] stage 3).
Study Design
Nested case-control.
Setting & Participants
100 cases of incident CKD stage 3 and 100 age-and sex-matched controls in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS); 141 cases and 135 age-, sexand race-matched controls in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Controls had eGFR ≥60 ml/min/1.73m2 at follow-up in both studies.
Urinary CTGF concentrations.
Incident CKD stage 3, defined as eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73m2.
Stored urine samples from Framingham Heart Study and ARIC were measured for CTGF. Covariates were obtained from Framingham Heart Study and ARIC participant examinations.
In Framingham Heart Study, the median baseline urinary CTGF concentration was lower among cases (1.35 ng/mL) than controls (2.35 ng/mL; paired t-test P<0.0001). The multivariable-adjusted OR for incident CKD stage 3 was 0.33 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.17–0.64; P<0.001) per 1-standard deviation increase in log urinary CTGF after adjustment for CKD risk factors, baseline eGFR and baseline log urinary albumin-creatinine ratio, with similar results among participants without diabetes (n=184). Results were not materially different when urinary CTGF was indexed to urinary creatinine (multivariable-adjusted OR, 0.34; 95% CI, 0.21–0.56; P<0.001). A similar, but non-significant, trend of risk of incident CKD stage 3 with lower baseline urinary CTGF concentration was observed in an independent case-control study conducted in the ARIC Study, with the strongest results observed among participants free of diabetes. This inverse relationship was robust in meta-analysis of both the overall and diabetes-free groups.
Observational study; causality cannot be inferred.
Lower urinary CTGF concentrations precede the onset of CKD stage 3 in the general population. Further work is required to fully characterize how CTGF influences risk of CKD.
PMCID: PMC3100386  PMID: 21292366
18.  Limitations of analyses based on achieved blood pressure: Lessons from the AASK trial 
Hypertension  2011;57(6):1061-1068.
Blood pressure (BP) guidelines that set target BP levels often rely on analyses of achieved BP from hypertension treatment trials. The objective of this paper was to compare the results of analyses of achieved BP to intention-to-treat analyses on renal disease progression. Participants (n=1,094) in the African-American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension Trial were randomized to either: (1) usual BP goal defined by a mean arterial pressure (MAP) goal of 102–107 mmHg or (2) lower BP goal defined by a MAP goal of ≤ 92 mmHg. Median follow-up was 3.7 years. Primary outcomes were rate of decline in measured glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and a composite of a decrease in GFR by > 50% or >25 ml/min/1.73m2, requirement for dialysis, transplantation, or death. Intention-to-treat analyses showed no evidence of a BP effect on either the rate of decline in GFR or the clinical composite outcome. In contrast, the achieved BP analyses showed that each 10 mm Hg increment in mean follow-up achieved MAP was associated with a 0.35 (95% CI 0.08 – 0.62, p = 0.01) ml/min/1.73m2 faster mean GFR decline and a 17% (95% CI 5% – 32%, p = 0.006) increased risk of the clinical composite outcome. Analyses based on achieved BP lead to markedly different inferences than traditional intention-to-treat analyses, due in part to confounding of achieved BP with co- morbidities, disease severity and adherence. Clinicians and policy makers should exercise caution when making treatment recommendations based on analyses relating outcomes to achieved BP.
PMCID: PMC3150108  PMID: 21555676
blood pressure control; African Americans; hypertension treatment; renal disease
19.  Cardiac Troponin T Measured by a Highly Sensitive Assay Predicts Coronary Heart Disease, Heart Failure, and Mortality in the ARIC Study 
Circulation  2011;123(13):1367-1376.
We evaluated whether cardiac troponin T (cTnT) measured with a new highly sensitive assay was associated with incident coronary heart disease (CHD), mortality, and hospitalization for heart failure (HF) in a general population of participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.
Methods and Results
Associations between increasing cTnT levels and CHD, mortality, and HF hospitalization were evaluated using Cox proportional-hazards models adjusted for traditional CHD risk factors, kidney function, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and N-terminal pro–B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in 9,698 participants aged 54–74 years who at baseline were free from CHD and stroke (and HF in the HF analysis). Measurable cTnT levels (≥0.003 μg/L) were detected in 66.5% of individuals. In fully adjusted models, compared with participants with undetectable levels, those with cTnT levels in the highest category (≥0.014 μg/L, 7.4% of the ARIC population) had significantly increased risk for CHD (hazard ratio [HR] 2.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.81–2.89), fatal CHD (HR 7.59, 95% CI 3.78–15.25), total mortality (HR 3.96, 95% CI 3.21–4.88), and HF (HR 5.95, 95% CI 4.47–7.92). Even minimally elevated cTnT (≥0.003 μg/L) was associated with increased risk for mortality and HF (p<0.05). Adding cTnT to traditional risk factors improved risk prediction parameters; the improvements were similar to those with NT-proBNP and better than that with the addition of hs-CRP.
cTnT detectable with a highly sensitive assay was associated with incident CHD, mortality, and HF in individuals from a general population without known CHD/stroke.
PMCID: PMC3072024  PMID: 21422391
coronary disease; heart failure; risk factors; troponin
20.  Glycated Hemoglobin and the Risk of Kidney Disease and Retinopathy in Adults With and Without Diabetes 
Diabetes  2010;60(1):298-305.
Glycated hemoglobin was recently recommended for use as a diagnostic test for diabetes. We examined the association between 2010 American Diabetes Association diagnostic cut points for glycated hemoglobin and microvascular outcomes (chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease [ESRD], and retinopathy) and formally tested for the presence of risk thresholds in the relationships of glycated hemoglobin with these outcomes.
Prospective cohort and cross-sectional analyses of 11,357 participants (773 with a history of diagnosed diabetes) from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.
During a median of 14 years of follow-up of individuals without diagnosed diabetes at baseline, clinical categories of glycated hemoglobin were associated with risk of chronic kidney disease, with adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) of 1.12 (0.94–1.34) and 1.39 (1.04–1.85) for glycated hemoglobin 5.7–6.4% and ≥6.5%, respectively, as compared with <5.7% (P trend = 0.002). The corresponding HRs for ESRD were 1.51 (0.82–2.76) and 1.98 (0.83–4.73), respectively (P trend = 0.047). In the absence of diagnosed diabetes, glycated hemoglobin was cross sectionally associated with the presence of moderate/severe retinopathy, with adjusted odds ratios of 1.42 (0.69–2.92) and 2.91 (1.19–7.11) for glycated hemoglobin 5.7–<6.5% and ≥6.5%, respectively, compared with <5.7% (P trend = 0.011). Risk associations were stronger among individuals with a history of diabetes. We did not observe significant thresholds in the associations of glycated hemoglobin with kidney disease risk or retinopathy.
These data from a community-based, biracial population support the use of new 2010 American Diabetes Association glycated hemoglobin cut points for the diagnosis of diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3012185  PMID: 20978092
21.  The Impact of Kidney Function at HAART Initiation on Mortality in HIV-infected Women 
In the early highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era, kidney dysfunction was strongly associated with death among HIV-infected individuals. We re-examined this association in the later HAART period to determine whether chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains a predictor of death after HAART-initiation.
To evaluate the effect of kidney function at the time of HAART initiation on time to all-cause mortality, we evaluated 1415 HIV-infected women initiating HAART in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Multivariable proportional hazards models with survival times calculated from HAART initiation to death were constructed; participants were censored at the time of the last available visit or December 31, 2006.
CKD (eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2) at HAART initiation was associated with higher mortality risk adjusting for age, race, hepatitis C serostatus, AIDS history and CD4+ cell count (hazard ratio [HR]=2.23, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.45–3.43). Adjustment for hypertension and diabetes history attenuated this association (HR=1.89, CI: 0.94–3.80). Lower kidney function at HAART initiation was weakly associated with increased mortality risk in women with prior AIDS (HR=1.09, CI: 1.00–1.19, per 20% decrease in eGFR).
Kidney function at HAART initiation remains an independent predictor of death in HIV-infected individuals, especially in those with a history of AIDS. Our study emphasizes the necessity of monitoring kidney function in this population. Additional studies are needed to determine mechanisms underlying the increased mortality risk associated with CKD in HIV-infected persons.
PMCID: PMC3243740  PMID: 20581688
kidney disease; mortality; HIV; WIHS; antiretroviral therapy
22.  Orthostatic hypotension is associated with incident chronic kidney disease: The Atherosclerosis Risk In Communities Study 
Hypertension  2010;56(6):1054-1059.
Orthostatic hypotension (OH) is associated with increased rates of cardiovascular disease and mortality, particularly among middle-aged persons. However, little is known about the association of OH with chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Methods and Results
Postural changes in blood pressure (BP) were estimated using the difference between the average of multiple supine and standing BP measurements. OH was defined as a decrease in systolic BP ≥ 20 mm Hg, or a decrease in diastolic BP ≥ 10 mm Hg upon standing. Incident CKD was defined as an increase in serum creatinine ≥ 0.4 mg/dL at the 3- or 9-year follow-up visits, or a hospitalization (discharge) or death due to CKD. Urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR, mg/g) was obtained at visit 4 and used to define albuminuria (ACR≥ 30 mg/g). The association between OH and incident CKD and between OH and categories of albuminuria were modeled using adjusted Cox proportional hazard models and logistic regression, respectively. Among 12,593 individuals, 1,019 developed CKD (3.9 cases/1,000 person-years) over a mean of 16 years. A significantly increased risk of CKD was observed among individuals with OH compared to those without OH after adjustment (hazard ratio 1.67, 95% confidence interval, 1.36, 2.06). OH was associated with increased risk of albuminuria (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.21, 2.29).
These findings suggest that OH increases the risk of CKD in middle-aged persons.
PMCID: PMC3147024  PMID: 21060003
23.  Chronic kidney disease and venous thromboembolism: a prospective study 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2010;25(10):3296-3301.
Background. The incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is increased with severe kidney disease, but whether less-severe chronic kidney disease (CKD) increases the risk of VTE is less certain.
Methods. We studied this in a prospective cohort of 10 700 whites and African Americans, aged 53–75 years, attending Visit 4 (1996–98) of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) values were estimated from prediction equations based on serum creatinine (eGFRcreat) or cystatin C (eGFRcys). Normal kidney function was defined as eGFR ≥90 ml/min/1.73 m2, mildly decreased kidney function as eGFR between 60 and 89 ml/min/1.73 m2 and Stage 3 to 4 CKD as eGFR between 15 and 59 ml/min/1.73 m2. VTE occurrence (n = 228) was ascertained over a median of 8.3 years.
Results. For eGFRcys, the age-, race- and sex-adjusted hazard ratios of total VTE were 1.0, 1.40 and 1.94 (P trend = 0.003) for normal kidney function, mildly impaired kidney function and Stage 3 to 4 CKD, respectively. These respective hazard ratios were moderately attenuated to 1.0, 1.26 and 1.60 (P trend = 0.04) with adjustment for hormone replacement therapy, diabetes and body mass index. Associations between CKD based on eGFRcys and VTE were slightly stronger for idiopathic VTE than for secondary VTE. In contrast, CKD based on eGFRcreat was not associated with total VTE occurrence.
Conclusions. Stage 3 to 4 CKD, based on eGFRcys but not eGFRcreat, was associated with an approximately 1.6-fold increased risk of VTE.
PMCID: PMC2948836  PMID: 20353958
chronic kidney disease; prospective study; pulmonary embolism; venous thromboembolism
24.  Prevalence of kidney disease in anaemia differs by GFR-estimating method: The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1988–94) 
Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation  2010;25(8):2542-2548.
Background. Anaemia worsens as kidney function declines. Both conditions are associated with increased mortality. Serum cystatin C is purportedly a more sensitive marker of kidney disease and a better predictor of mortality than serum creatinine. However, studies suggest that extrarenal factors also influence cystatin C levels.
Methods. We determined whether estimates of glomerular filtration rate [estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)] based on serum cystatin C alone or in combination with serum creatinine were superior to those based on serum creatinine in recognizing impaired kidney function in the setting of anaemia in a sub-sample of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of the USA consisting of 6734 participants, 20 years or older.
Results. The prevalence of moderate to severe kidney disease (eGFR 15–59 mL/min/1.73 m2) among anaemic persons was 15–16% when based on serum creatinine alone (eGFRSCR) or combined with cystatin C (eGFRSCR + CYSC); this estimate increased to nearly 25% when kidney function was estimated by cystatin C (eGFRCYSC). The adjusted odds ratios of kidney disease in anaemic versus non-anaemic persons were slightly higher with eGFRCYSC than eGFRSCR and eGFRSCR + CYSC in younger adults [odds ratio (OR) = 5.22, 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.23, 12.17], women (OR = 5.34, 95% CI: 2.36, 12.06) and those with elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) (OR = 7.36, 95% CI: 1.98–27.36).
Conclusions. Impaired kidney function was common in individuals with anaemia. Among anaemic individuals, the prevalence estimate for kidney disease was notably higher when kidney function was estimated by cystatin C alone compared with the estimations by serum creatinine alone or in combination with serum cystatin C. eGFRCYSC may be particularly helpful in identifying kidney disease in the setting of anaemia among younger persons, women and those with elevated CRP. Regardless of which renal biomarker is used, our study suggests that an evaluation for underlying kidney disease should be considered in the standard workup of anaemia.
PMCID: PMC2910334  PMID: 20176612
anaemia; chronic kidney failure; creatinine; cystatin C; glomerular filtration rate
25.  Risk Implications of the New CKD Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) Equation as Compared With the MDRD Study Equation for Estimated GFR: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study 
The Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) recently published an equation for estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) using the same variables (serum creatinine, age, gender and race) as the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study (MDRD) equation. Although the CKD-EPI equation estimates GFR more precisely as compared with the MDRD equation, whether this equation improves risk prediction is unknown.
Study Design
Prospective cohort study, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study.
Setting & Participants
13,905 middle-aged participants without a history of cardiovascular disease with median follow-up of 16.9 years.
Outcomes & Measurements
We compared the association of eGFR in categories (≥120, 90–119, 60–89, 30–59, <30 ml/min/1.73m2) by the CKD-EPI and MDRD equations with risk of incident end-stage renal disease (ESRD), all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease (CHD), and stroke.
Median of eGFRCKD-EPI was higher than that of eGFRMDRD (97.6 vs. 88.8 ml/min/1.73m2, P<0.001). The CKD-EPI equation reclassified 44.9% (n=3,079) and 43.5% (n=151) of participants with eGFRMDRD 60–89 and 30–59, respectively, upward to a higher eGFR category but no one with eGFRMDRD 90–119 or <30, lowering the prevalence of CKD stage 3–5 from 2.7% to 1.6%. Participants with eGFRMDRD 30–59 who were reclassified upward had lower risk as compared to those who were not reclassified (ESRD incidence rate ratio, 0.10 [95% CI, 0.03–0.33], all-cause mortality, 0.30 [0.19–0.48], CHD, 0.36 [0.21–0.61], stroke, 0.50 [0.24–1.01]). Similar results were observed for participants with eGFRMDRD 60–89. More frequent reclassification of younger, female, and white participants explained some of these trends. Net reclassification improvement among participants with eGFR <120 was positive for all outcomes (P<0.001).
Limited number of cases with eGFR <60 and no measurement of albuminuria.
The CKD-EPI equation more appropriately categorized individuals with respect to long-term clinical risk as compared to the MDRD equation, suggesting improved clinical usefulness in this middle-aged population.
PMCID: PMC2858455  PMID: 20189275

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