Low levels of anti-aging hormone may be an indicator of kidney disease

February 19th, 2011 - 1:14 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 19 (ANI): UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found that low levels of the anti-aging hormone Klotho may serve as an early warning sign of the presence of kidney disease and its deadly cardiovascular complications.

Using mice, investigators found that soft-tissue calcification, a common and serious side effect of chronic kidney disease (CKD), improves when Klotho hormone levels are restored.

In the current study, UT Southwestern researchers decreased Klotho levels in mice by genetically engineering them to produce inadequate levels of the protein. Restoring adequate Klotho levels to the rodents with CKD markedly improved renal function and blood chemistry and reduced vascular calcification.

In contrast, mice with CKD that were genetically engineered to have abnormally low levels of Klotho had worse kidney function and severe calcification. The beneficial effect of proper Klotho levels on vascular calcification goes beyond the hormone’s effect on kidney function, suggesting a direct protective effect of Klotho on the vasculature, said Dr. Orson Moe, director of the Charles and Jane Pak Center for Mineral Metabolism and Clinical Research at UT Southwestern and the senior author of the study.

According to the research, Klotho lessens vascular calcification by enhancing the urine’s phosphate excretions (essential for building and repairing bones and teeth, helping nerve function and making muscles contract, but it can be toxic when levels are high); and preserving kidney fluid filtration. Most importantly, Klotho also appears to inhibit vascular smooth-muscle phosphate uptake and calcification, a complication of CKD that can significantly increase risk of death.

“We tested three hypotheses,” Moe said.

“The first was that CKD is a state of Klotho deficiency; the second, that Klotho is an early marker of CKD; and the third, that Klotho deficiency contributes to vascular calcification and Klotho replacement ameliorates CKD via multiple mechanisms. The data we collected seem to bear out all three.”

The study’s findings also suggest that Klotho replacement therapy may eventually prove to be effective in battling CKD as well as in preventing and reversing its complications.

The study has been published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. (ANI)

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