In chronic kidney disease (CKD), both anemia and deregulated phosphate metabolism are common and predictive of adverse outcome. Previous studies suggest that iron status influences phosphate metabolism by modulating proteolytic cleavage of FGF23 into C-terminal fragments. Red cell distribution width (RDW) was recently identified as a strong prognostic determinant for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, independently of iron status. We assessed whether RDW is associated with FGF23 cleaving in CKD patients with heart failure.
Materials and Methods
The associations between RDW and either intact FGF23 (iFGF23), C-terminal FGF23 (cFGF23, reflecting iFGF23 and C-terminal fragments together) and the iFGF23/cFGF23 ratio were analyzed in 52 patients with CKD (eGFR 34,9 ± 13.9 ml/min/1.73m2) and chronic heart failure (CHF). Associations between RDW and FGF23 forms were studied by linear regression analysis adjusted for parameters of renal function, iron metabolism, phosphate metabolism and inflammation.
Median cFGF23 levels were 197.5 [110–408.5] RU/ml, median iFGF23 levels were 107.3 [65.1–162.2] pg/ml and median FGF23 ratio was 0.80 [0.37–0.86]. Mean RDW was 14.1 ± 1.2%. cFGF23 and RDW were associated (β = 1.63x10-3, P <0.001), whereas iFGF23 and RDW were not (β = -1.38x10-3, P = 0.336). The iFGF23/cFGF23 ratio was inversely associated with RDW. The difference between cFGF23 and iFGF23 (cFGF23- iFGF23) was positively associated with RDW (β = 1.74x10-3, P< 0.001). The association between cFGF23 and RDW persisted upon multivariable linear regression analysis, adjusted for parameters of renal function, phosphate metabolism, iron metabolism and inflammation (β = 0.97x10-3, P = 0.047).
RDW is associated with cFGF23 but not with iFGF23 levels in patients with CKD and CHF. This suggests a connection between RDW and FGF23 catabolism, independent of iron status and inflammation. Future studies are needed to unravel underlying mechanisms and whether these pertain to the link between RDW and outcome.