Dialysis patients with high levels of circulating sclerostin may be less likely to die from cardiovascular causes, according to a new study.

Researchers led by Vincent M. Brandenburg, MD, of University Hospital of the RWTH Aachen, Aachen, Germany, analyzed data from 673 incident dialysis patients enrolled in a prospective cohort study in the Netherlands. Subjects had circulating sclerostin measured 3 months after the start of dialysis (baseline).

After adjusting for various clinical and biochemical parameters, patients in the highest tertile of sclerostin had a significant 71% and 61% decreased risk for cardiovascular death and all-cause mortality, respectively, within 18 months compared with those in the lowest tertile, Dr. Brandenburg’s team reported online ahead of print in Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation.

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Sclerostin is a glycoprotein secreted by osteocytes that inhibits bone formation. Sclerostin levels are elevated in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease. Recent evidence suggests that sclerostin plays a role in uremic and non-uremic cardiovascular calcification processes.


In a study published recently in Kidney & Blood Pressure Research (2014;39:230-239), researchers found that markedly elevated blood levels of sclerostin in ESRD patients decrease rapidly to normal or subnormal values after renal transplantation.