Calcium isotopes as a biomarker for vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease

Publication Name

Metallomics : integrated biometal science


Calcium balance is abnormal in adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is associated with the development of vascular calcification. It is currently not routine to screen for vascular calcification in CKD patients. In this cross-sectional study, we investigate whether the ratio of naturally occurring calcium (Ca) isotopes, 44Ca and 42Ca, in serum could be used as a noninvasive marker of vascular calcification in CKD. We recruited 78 participants from a tertiary hospital renal center: 28 controls, 9 subjects with mild-moderate CKD, 22 undertaking dialysis and 19 who received a kidney transplant. For each participant, systolic blood pressure, ankle brachial index, pulse wave velocity, and estimated glomerular filtration rate were measured, along with serum markers. Calcium concentrations and isotope ratios were measured in urine and serum. While we found no significant association between urine Ca isotope composition (noted δ44/42Ca) between the different groups, δ44/42Ca values in serum were significantly different between healthy controls, subjects with mild-moderate CKD and those undertaking dialysis (P < 0.01). Receiver operative characteristic curve analysis shows that the diagnostic utility of serum δ44/42Ca for detecting medial artery calcification is very good (AUC = 0.818, sensitivity 81.8% and specificity 77.3%, P < 0.01), and performs better than existing biomarkers. Although our results will need to be verified in prospective studies across different institutions, serum δ44/42Ca has the potential to be used as an early screening test for vascular calcification.

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