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Thyroid hormone levels and incident chronic kidney disease in euthyroid individuals: the Kangbuk Samsung Health Study

09 Oct 2014

Background: Overt and subclinical hypothyroidism are associated with higher levels of serum creatinine and with increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). The prospective association between thyroid hormones and kidney function in euthyroid individuals, however, is largely unexplored.

Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study in 104 633 South Korean men and women who were free of CKD and proteinuria at baseline and had normal thyroid hormone levels and no history of thyroid disease or cancer. At each annual or biennial follow-up visit, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free triiodothyronine (FT3) and free thyroxin (FT4) levels were measured by radioimmunoassay. The study outcome was incident CKD, defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 based on the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration creatinine equation.

Results: After a median follow-up of 3.5 years, 1032 participants developed incident CKD. There was a positive association between high-normal levels of TSH and increased risk of incident CKD. In fully-adjusted models including baseline eGFR, the hazard ratio comparing the highest vs the lowest quintiles of TSH was 1.26 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02 to 1.55; P for linear trend = 0.03]. In spline models, FT3 levels below 3 pg/ml were also associated with increased risk of incident CKD. There was no association between FT4 levels and CKD.

Conclusions: In a large cohort of euthyroid men and women, high levels of TSH and low levels of FT3, even within the normal range, were modestly associated with an increased risk of incident CKD.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in International Journal of Epidemiology