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Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2014 Sep;29(9):1733-40. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfu056. Epub 2014 Mar 21.

Protein intake and kidney function in the middle-age population: contrast between cross-sectional and longitudinal data.

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Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy.
Atella Hemodialysis Center, Orta di Atella, Italy.
Department of Medicine, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy.
Istituto Auxologico Italiano, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.



Protein intake is considered a determinant of glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Urinary urea is an objective marker of protein intake. The population-based study investigated, cross-sectionally and longitudinally, the association of protein intake with GFR, indexed by estimated GFR (eGFR).


Data were collected on overnight urinary urea, serum creatinine (S-cr), eGFR and other variables in 1522 men and women aged 45-64 years who participated in the Gubbio study (baseline). S-Cr, eGFR and other variables were re-assessed in 1144 of the 1425 survivors after 12-year follow-up.


At baseline, mean ± SD was 84.0 ± 11.4 mL/min × 1.73 m(2) for eGFR calculated by CKD-Epi equation and 1.34 ± 0.57 g/day per kg of ideal weight for protein intake assessed by measurements of overnight urine excretion of urea nitrogen. Cross-sectional analyses of baseline data indicated a positive correlation of protein intake with eGFR (R = 0.180, P < 0.001). In multi-variable regression, 1 g/day higher protein intake related to 4.7 mL/min × 1.73 m(2) higher eGFR [95% confidence interval (CI) = 3.7/5.7]. At follow-up, mean ± SD of 12-year eGFR change was -11.6 ± 9.0 mL/min × 1.73 m(2). Baseline protein intake correlated with more negative eGFR change (R = -0.251, P < 0.001). In multi-variable regression, 1 g/day higher protein intake related to -4.1 mL/min × 1.73 m(2) more negative eGFR change (95% CI = -5.1/-3.1) and to 1.78 risk for incidence of eGFR < 60 mL/min × 1.73 m(2) (95% CI = 1.15/2.78).


In middle-aged adults, high protein intake is associated cross-sectionally with higher GFR but longitudinally with greater GFR decline over time.


Gubbio study; creatinine; eGFR; protein intake; urea

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