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Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) and endothelium-related biomarkers have been related to AKI in critically-ill patients. Also, FGF23 is associated with endothelial dysfunction. In this study, we investigated if elevated FGF23 association with severe AKI is mediated by several endothelial/glycocalyx-related biomarkers.
Prospective cohort study with critically-ill patients. Blood samples were collected within the first 24 h after ICU admission. Severe AKI (defined according to KDIGO stage 2/3) was the analyzed outcome.
265 patients were enrolled and 82 (30.9%) developed severe AKI—defined according to KDIGO stage 2/3. Blood samples to biomarkers measurement were collected within the first 24 h after ICU admission. After adjustment for several variables, FGF23, vascular cell adhesion protein 1 (VCAM-1), angiopoietin 2 (AGPT2), syndecan-1 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) were associated with severe AKI. The individual indirect effects of VCAM-1, AGPT2 and syndecan-1 explained 23%, 31%, and 32% of the total observed effect of FGF23 on severe AKI, respectively. ICAM-1 showed no statistically significant mediation. When all three endothelium-related biomarkers were included in a directed acyclic graph (DAG), the Bayesian network learning suggested the following causal association pathway FGF-23 → syndecan-1 → VCAM-1 → AGPT2 → severe AKI.
The association between FGF23 and AKI are mediated by endothelium-related biomarkers, mainly VCAM-1, AGPT2 and syndecan-1. Moreover, the statistical models show that syndecan-1, a biomarker of endothelial glycocalyx dysfunction, seems to be the initial mediator between FGF23 and severe AKI.