Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15) is a member of the TGF- cytokine superfamily that is widely expressed and may be induced in response to tissue injury. Elevations in GDF-15 may identify a novel pathway involved in loss of kidney function among patients with CKD. Among participants in the Clinical Phenotyping and Resource Biobank (C-PROBE) study and the Seattle Kidney Study (SKS), we tested whether kidney tissue expression of mRNA correlates with circulating levels of GDF-15 and whether elevations in circulating GDF-15 are associated with decline in kidney function. In matching samples of 24 patients with CKD from the C-PROBE study, circulating GDF-15 levels significantly correlated with intrarenal transcript levels (=0.54, =0.01). Among the 224 C-PROBE and 297 SKS participants, 72 (32.1%) and 94 (32.0%) patients, respectively, reached a composite end point of 30% decline in eGFR or progression to ESRD over a median of 1.8 and 2.0 years of follow up, respectively. In multivariable models, after adjusting for potential confounders, every doubling of GDF-15 level associated with a 72% higher (95% confidence interval, 1.21 to 4.45; =0.003) and 65% higher (95% confidence interval, 1.08 to 2.50; =0.02) risk of progression of kidney disease in C-PROBE and SKS participants, respectively. These results show that circulating GDF-15 levels strongly correlated with intrarenal expression of and significantly associated with increased risk of CKD progression in two independent cohorts. Circulating GDF-15 may be a marker for intrarenal -related signaling pathways associated with CKD and CKD progression.
Copyright © 2017 by the American Society of Nephrology.