BACKGROUND - Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15), soluble ST2 (sST2), and high-sensitivity troponin I (hsTnI) are emerging predictors of adverse clinical outcomes. We examined whether circulating concentrations are related to the development of kidney disease in the community.
METHODS - Plasma GDF-15, sST2, and hsTnI concentrations were measured in 2614 Framingham Offspring cohort participants (mean age 57 years, 54% women) at the sixth examination cycle (1995-1998). Associations of biomarkers with incident chronic kidney disease [CKD, eGFR <60 mL · min(-1) · (1.73 m(2)) (-1), n = 276], microalbuminuria (urinary albumin to creatinine ratio ≥25 mg/g in women and 17 mg/g in men, n = 191), and rapid decline in renal function [decline in eGFR ≥3 mL · min(-1) · (1.73 m(2)) (-1) per year, n = 237], were evaluated using multivariable logistic regression; P < 0.006 was considered statistically significant in primary analyses.
RESULTS - Participants were followed over a mean of 9.5 years. Higher plasma GDF-15 was associated with incident CKD [multivariable-adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.9 per 1-U increase in log-GDF-15, 95% CI 1.6-2.3, P < 0.0001] and rapid decline in renal function (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.3-1.8; P < 0.0001). GDF-15, sST2, and hsTnI had suggestive associations with incident microalbuminuria but did not meet the prespecified P-value threshold after multivariable adjustment. Adding plasma GDF-15 to clinical covariates improved risk prediction of incident CKD: the c-statistic increased from 0.826 to 0.845 (P = 0.0007), and categorical net reclassification was 6.3% (95% CI, 2.7-9.9%).
CONCLUSIONS - Higher circulating GDF-15 is associated with incident renal outcomes and improves risk prediction of incident CKD. These findings may provide insights into the mechanisms of renal injury.