We examined the hypothesis that high FGF-23 levels early after transplantation contribute to the onset of hypophosphatemia, independently of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and other factors regulating phosphate metabolism.
We measured serum phosphate levels (sPi), renal tubular reabsorption of Pi (TmPi/GFR), estimated GFR (eGFR), intact PTH (iPTH), calcitriol, intact (int) and C-terminal (Cter) FGF-23, dietary Pi intake and cumulative doses of glucocorticoids in 69 patients 12 days (95% confidence interval, 10–13) after renal transplantation.
Hypophosphatemia was observed in 43 (62%) of the patients 12 days after transplantation. Compared with non-hypophosphatemic subjects, their post-transplantation levels of intact and CterFGF-23 were higher (195 (108–288) vs 48 (40–64) ng/l, P<0.002 for intFGF-23; 205 (116–384) vs 81 (55–124) U/ml, P<0.002, for CterFGF-23). In all subjects, Cter and intFGF-23 correlated inversely with sPi (r=−0.35, P<0.003; −0.35, P<0.003, respectively), and TmPi/GFR (r=−0.50, P<0.001; −0.54, P<0.001, respectively). In multivariate models, sPi and TmPi/GFR were independently associated with FGF-23, iPTH and eGFR. Pre-transplant iPTH levels were significantly higher in patients developing hypophosphatemia after renal transplantation. Pre-transplant levels of FGF-23 were not associated with sPi at the time of transplantation.
In addition to PTH, elevated FGF-23 may contribute to hypophosphatemia during the early post-renal transplant period.