anti-aging hormone Klotho may serve as an early warning sign of the presence of kidney disease and its deadly cardiovascular complications, according to findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers.
An anti-aging hormone called Klotho is produced from kidney and low level of which 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. The study is available online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Mice with chronic kidney disease exhibit low levels of Klotho in their kidneys, blood and urine, indicating that CKD is a state of systemic Klotho deficiency. In the study, researchers also tested urine from 53 human participants, including 40 CKD patients, and found that they also had low levels of the essential protein.
It can be a vicious cycle, where CKD begets low Klotho and low Klotho accelerates CKD. Animal studies have shown that a dangerous consequence of inadequate Klotho is soft-tissue calcification, which can interfere with normal organ function.
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.
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.
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.