Elevated levels of certain inflammatory markers are associated with an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), a study found.

The population-based study, which included a cohort of 4,926 individuals, divided subjects into tertiles based on their baseline serum levels of C reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-α receptor 2 (TNF-αR2), and interleukin-6 (IL-6), and serum white blood cell (WBC) count, all markers of inflammation.

After adjusting for multiple variables, including diabetes and hypertension, subjects in the highest tertile of TNF-αR2 and WBC count had a twofold increased risk of developing CKD over a 15-year follow-up period compared with subjects in the lowest tertile, according to a research team led by Anoop Shankar, MD, of the West Virginia School of Medicine in Morgantown. Patients in the highest tertile of interleukin-6 levels had a 45% increased risk. CRP level was not associated with CKD risk.

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“Results from our study further extend the current understanding of the role of inflammatory markers in the pathogenesis of CKD,” Dr. Shankar’s team wrote in Kidney International (2011;80:1231-1238).

In addition, the authors concluded: “A practical application of our findings is that, if replicated in other studies, these markers may be a potential future way of assessing subjects who are more likely to develop CKD.”