Association of a cystatin C gene variant with cystatin C levels, CKD, and risk of incident cardiovascular disease and mortality

Conall M. O'Seaghdha, Adrienne Tin, Qiong Yang, Ronit Katz, Yongmei Liu, Tamara Harris, Brad Astor, Josef Coresh, Caroline S. Fox, W. H.Linda Kao, Michael G. Shlipak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background Carriers of the T allele of the single-nucleotide polymorphism rs13038305 tend to have lower cystatin C levels and higher cystatin C-based estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFRcys). Adjusting for this genetic effect on cystatin C concentrations may improve GFR estimation, reclassify cases of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and strengthen risk estimates for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality. Study Design Observational. Setting & Population 4 population-based cohorts: Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC), Cardiovascular Health (CHS), Framingham Heart (FHS), and Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) studies. Predictors We estimated the association of rs13038305 with eGFRcys and serum creatinine-based eGFR (eGFRcr) and performed longitudinal analyses of the associations of eGFRcys with mortality and cardiovascular events following adjustment for rs13038305. Outcomes We assessed reclassification by genotype-adjusted eGFRcys across CKD categories: <45, 45-59, 60-89, and ≥90 mL/min/1.73 m2. We compared mortality and CVD outcomes in those reclassified to a worse eGFRcys category with those unaffected. Results were combined using fixed-effect inverse-variance meta-analysis. Results In 14,645 participants, each copy of the T allele of rs13038305 (frequency, 21%) was associated with a 6.4% lower cystatin C concentration, 5.5-mL/min/1.73 m2 higher eGFRcys, and 36% [95% CI, 29%-41%] lower odds of CKD. Associations with CVD (HR, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.14-1.20) and mortality (HR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.19-1.24) per 10-mL/min/1.73 m 2 lower eGFRcys were similar with or without rs13038305 adjustment. 1,134 (7.7%) participants were reclassified to a worse CKD category following rs13038305 adjustment, and rates of CVD and mortality were higher in individuals who were reclassified. However, the overall net reclassification index was not significant for either outcome, at 0.009 (95% CI, -0.003 to 0.022) for mortality and 0.014 (95% CI, 0.0 to 0.028) for CVD. Limitations rs13038305 explains only a small proportion of cystatin C variation. Conclusions Statistical adjustment can correct a genetic bias in GFR estimates based on cystatin C in carriers of the T allele of rs13038305 and result in changes in disease classification. However, on a population level, the effects on overall reclassification of CKD status are modest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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