Fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23), a novel regulator of mineral metabolism, is markedly elevated in chronic kidney disease and has been associated with poor long-term outcomes. However, whether FGF-23 has an analogous role in acute kidney injury is unknown. The goal of this study was to measure FGF-23 levels in critically ill patients with acute kidney injury to determine whether FGF-23 levels were elevated, as in chronic kidney disease.
Plasma FGF-23 and intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels were measured in 12 patients with acute kidney injury and 8 control subjects.
FGF-23 levels were significantly higher in acute kidney injury cases than in critically ill subjects without acute kidney injury, with a median FGF-23 level of 1948 RU/mL (interquartile range (IQR), 437-4369) in cases compared with 252 RU/mL (IQR, 65-533) in controls (p = 0.01). No correlations were observed between FGF-23 and severity of acute kidney injury (defined by the Acute Kidney Injury Network criteria); among patients with acute kidney injury, FGF-23 levels were higher in nonsurvivors than survivors (median levels of 4446 RU/mL (IQR, 3455-5443) versus 544 RU/mL (IQR, 390-1948; p = 0.02). Severe hyperparathyroidism (defined as intact PTH >250 mg/dL) was present in 3 of 12 (25%) of the acute kidney injury subjects versus none of the subjects without acute kidney injury, although this result did not meet statistical significance.
We provide novel data that demonstrate that FGF-23 levels are elevated in acute kidney injury, suggesting that FGF-23 dysregulation occurs in acute kidney injury as well as chronic kidney disease. Further studies are needed to define the short- and long-term clinical effects of dysregulated mineral metabolism in acute kidney injury patients.