Negative effect of vitamin D on kidney function: a Mendelian randomization study

CKDGen Consortium

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Background: The kidney plays a central role in the regulation of vitamin D metabolism. It is not clear, however, whether vitamin D influences kidney function. Previous studies have reported conflicting results, which may have been influenced by reverse causation and residual confounding. We conducted a Mendelian randomization (MR) study to obtain unconfounded estimates of the association between genetically instrumented vitamin D metabolites and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) as well as the urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR).
Methods: We performed a two-sample MR study based on three single nucleotide variants associated with 25(OH)D levels: rs2282679, rs10741657, and rs12785878, related to the genes GC, CYP2R1, and DHCR7, respectively. Estimates of the allele-dependent effects on serum 25(OH)D and eGFR/UACR were obtained from summary statistics of published genome-wide association meta-analyses. Additionally, we performed a one-sample MR analysis for both 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D using individual-level data from six cohorts.
Results: The combined MR estimate supported a negative causal effect of log-transformed 25(OH)D on log-transformed eGFR (beta −0.013, p = 0.003). The analysis of individual-level data confirmed the main findings, and also revealed a significant association of 1,25(OH)2D on eGFR (beta = −0.094, p = 0.008). These results show that a 10% increase in serum 25(OH)D levels cause a 0.3% decrease in eGFR. There was no effect of 25(OH)D on UACR (beta 0.032, p = 0.265).
Conclusion: Our study suggests that circulating vitamin D metabolite levels are negatively associated with eGFR. Further studies are needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNephrology dialysis transplantation
Early online date30 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2018


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