Higher levels of a specific protein known as klotho in the blood may help to preserve proper kidney function, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Klotho is a soluble protein that circulates in the blood and can influence cellular and endocrine pathways—its highest concentration is found in the kidneys. Patients with kidney disease have shown lower levels of klotho, suggesting a link between the protein and proper kidney function.
This new study was helmed by Dr. David Drew and analyzed information gathered for the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study. The study was comprised of 2,496 well-functioning elderly participants whose kidney function and soluble serum klotho levels were tracked over the course of 10 years.
The results showed that high levels of klotho in the blood was linked with a lower likelihood of developing kidney disease and experiencing a decline in kidney function. In fact, each doubled level of the protein in the blood was associated with a risk factor 15-20 percent lower than the previous level. These results were gathered after being corrected for demographics, comorbidities, and other kidney disease risk factors. In regards to the results, Dr. Drew stated, “We found a strong association between low soluble klotho and decline in kidney function, independent of many known risk factors for kidney function decline.”