Biochemical and genetic markers of mineral bone disease in South African patients with chronic kidney disease

Waziri, Bala
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Background Abnormalities of mineral bone disease have been consistently associated with adverse clinical outcomes in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The consequences of these changes have also been shown to differ across races. However, in Africa the impact of derangements of CKD -mineral and bone disorder (CKD-MBD) on patients with CKD is largely unknown. In addition, studies from the USA have reported racial variations in markers of CKD and it remains unclear whether genetic factors may explain this discrepancy in the levels of biochemical markers of CKD-MBD across ethnic groups. Therefore, this study has been conducted to determine the existence of racial differences in the levels of fibroblast growth factor 23(FGF23) and traditional markers of mineral bone metabolism in a heterogeneous African CKD population, and to provide important insights into the pattern and genetic variability of CKD-MBD in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods This was a cross sectional multicenter study carried out from April 2015 to May 2016, involving two hundred and ninety three CKD patients from three renal units in Johannesburg, South Africa. The retrospective arm of this study involved two hundred and thirteen patients undergoing maintenance haemodialysis (MHD) from two dialysis centers in Johannesburg between January 2009 and March 2016. The first part of this study described the pattern of CKD-MBD in MHD patients using traditional markers of CKD-MBD. The second part of the study looked into the spectrum of CKD-MBD and racial variations in markers of CKD-MBD in pre dialysis and dialysis patients. This was followed by the genetic aspect of the study that examined the influence of vitamin D receptor polymorphisms on biochemical markers of mineral bone disorders. Lastly, the study also evaluated the association between markers of CKD-MBD and mortality in MHD patients. Results The prevalence of hyperparathyroidism (iPTH>150 pg/mL), hyperphosphataemia, hypocalcaemia and 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency (<30 ng/mL) was 73.4%, 57.0%, 20.3% and 80.7 % respectively in our MHD patients. The combination of markers of bone turnover (iPTH>150 pg/mL and total alkaline phosphatase > 112 U/L) suggestive of high turnover bone disease, was present in 47.3 % of the study population. The odds ratios for developing secondary hyperparathyroidism with hypocalcaemia and hyperphosphataemia were 5.32 (95% CI 1.10 - 25.9, P =0.03) and 3.06 (95 % CI 1.15 - 8.10, P =0.02) respectively. The 293 CKD patients (208 blacks, 85 whites) had an overall mean age of 51.1±13.6 years, and black patients were significantly younger than the white patients (48.4 ±.13.6 versus 57.1±15.5 years; p<0.001). In comparison to whites, blacks had higher median iPTH (498 [37-1084] versus 274[131-595] pg/ml; P=0.03), alkaline phosphatase (122[89-192] versus 103[74-144] U/L; P=0.03) and mean 25- hydroxyvitamin D (26.8±12.7 versus 22.7 ±12.2 ng/ml, P=0.01) levels, while their median FGF23 (100 [34-639] versus 233[80-1370] pg/ml; P=0.002) and mean serum phosphate (1.3±0.5 versus 1.5±0.5, P =0.001) levels were significantly lower. With the exception of vitamin D receptor (VDR) Taq I polymorphism, the distribution of the VDR polymorphisms differs significantly between blacks and whites. In hemodialysis patients, the BsmI Bb genotype was significantly associated with moderate secondary hyperparathyroidism (OR, 3.88; 95 CI 1.13-13.25, P=0.03) and severe hyperparathyroidism (OR, 2.54; 95 CI 1.08-5.96, P=0.03). Patients with high total alkaline phosphatase (TAP) had significantly higher risk of death compared to patients with TAP <112 U/L (hazard ratio, 2.50; 95% CI 1.24–5.01, P = 0.01). Similarly, serum calcium >2.75 mmol/L was associated with increased risk of death compared to patients within levels of 2.10–2.37 mmol/L (HR 6.34, 95% CI 1.40–28.76; P = 0.02). The HR for death in white patients compared to black patients was 6.88; 95% CI 1.82–25.88; P = 0.004. Conclusions Secondary hyperparathyroidism and 25–hydroxyvitamin D deficiency were common in our haemodialysis patients. The study also highlighted the existence of racial differences in the circulating markers of mineral bone disorders in our African CKD population. In addition, the study showed that both moderate and severe secondary hyperparathyroidism are predicted by the BsmI Bb genotype, and the over expression of this genotype in black patients may partly explain the ethnic variations in the severity of secondary hyperparathyroidism in the CKD population. High levels of serum alkaline phosphatase, hypercalcaemia, and white race are associated with increased risk of death in MHD patients.
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Johannesburg, 2017.