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.”
The results of the study may help researchers obtain a better understanding of kidney disease and the decline of kidney function. Acknowledging the association between klotho protein and kidney function may open the door for new treatments and diagnostic techniques, improving the quality of life for those with kidney disease. Dr. Drew also commented on this, suggesting that “[…] klotho could play a role in the development of chronic kidney disease, although additional research will need to confirm this. This also raises the possibility that klotho could be an important therapeutic target for future clinical trials.” Further research must be conducted to gain a better grasp of the relationship between klotho and kidney function before it can be used to develop any therapies or diagnostic tools.