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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2005 Aug;20(8):1676-85. Epub 2005 May 17.

Associations of serum fetuin-A with malnutrition, inflammation, atherosclerosis and valvular calcification syndrome and outcome in peritoneal dialysis patients.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong.



Fetuin-A (alpha2-Heremans Schmid glycoprotein) has recently been identified as a circulating inhibitor of calcification and is regulated as a negative acute phase protein. However, its relationships with cardiac valvular calcification and atherosclerosis and outcome have not been evaluated in peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients.


We performed a prospective follow-up study in 238 PD patients with echocardiography done at baseline to detect cardiac valvular calcification and biochemical analysis performed for serum fetuin-A, albumin and C-reactive protein (CRP).


Baseline serum fetuin-A concentration was (mean+/-SD) 0.309+/-0.068 g/l (normal range 0.4-0.95). Across the three tertiles of increasing serum fetuin-A, a significant trend effect was observed for age (P = 0.023), diabetes (P = 0.008), background atherosclerotic vascular disease (P = 0.010), cardiac valvular calcification (P = 0.002), serum albumin (P<0.001), subjective global assessment (P = 0.005) and CRP (P<0.001). Adjusting for CRP and calcium x phosphorus product, every 0.01 g/l increase in serum fetuin-A remained independently associated with a 6% decrease in the risk of valvular calcification (95% confidence intervals, 0.90-0.99; P = 0.028). Furthermore, serum fetuin-A showed a significant decrease across the four groups of patients with increasing components of the malnutrition, inflammation, atherosclerosis/calcification (MIAC) syndrome (P<0.001) and was the lowest among patients with all components of the MIAC syndrome (0.263+/-0.055 g/l) and highest among those who do not have the MIAC syndrome at all (0.338+/-0.063 g/l). Lower serum fetuin-A was associated with greater all-cause mortality (P = 0.0011) and fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events (P = 0.0017), but its significance was lost when atherosclerotic vascular disease, valvular calcification, inflammation and malnutrition were included in the model.


Serum fetuin-A showed important associations with valvular calcification, atherosclerosis, malnutrition and inflammation, and was linked to mortality and cardiovascular events in PD patients via its close relationships with the MIAC syndrome.

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