Kidney Int. 2008;73:95-101
Elevated plasma levels of urotensin II (UTN) predicts a lower risk of death from all causes and cardiovascular causes in CKD patients, Italian researchers conclude.
UTN is a cyclic vasoactive peptide expressed in multiple organs. Previous research showed that higher plasma levels of UTN predicted longer survival in dialysis patients.
Investigators studied 122 clinically stable pre-dialysis CKD patients. During a mean follow-up of 41 months, 43 patients died, 29 from cardiovascular events. The probability of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality decreased as UTN levels increased. The researchers found no correlation between baseline glomerular filtration rate and plasma UTN. UTN correlated directly with serum albumin and inversely with a history of previous coronary events.
The authors offered explanations for why high UTN is associated with a lower risk in CKD patients. Low UTN may reflect wasting and malnutrition in CKD patients, they noted. Alternatively, high UTN might interfere with mechanisms of organ damage.