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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Northwestern: Researchers Study New Risk Factor in Chronic Kidney Disease Progression

In patients with chronic kidney disease, higher levels of urinary oxalate excretion were associated with a higher risk of disease progression, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Dr. Anand Srivastava, a Northwestern Medicine researcher and member of the Institute for Public Health and Medicine, was a co-author of the study.

“Chronic kidney disease is a devastating and progressive illness, but the underlying causes of common forms of chronic kidney disease are often unknown,” Dr. Srivastava said. “The results of this study provide an opportunity to study another potential risk factor.”

One in seven Americans have chronic kidney disease and may experience the progressive loss of kidney function.

Oxalate is a compound found in many foods and also a natural end-product of metabolism. However, previous research has shown that extreme levels of oxalate in the body — whether due to rare disorders, metabolic factors or other reasons — can cause kidney damage.

In the current study, the scientists wanted to understand whether mildly elevated levels of oxalate — even within normal ranges — in patients with chronic kidney disease were associated with a higher risk of chronic kidney disease progression.

The team of investigators found that higher urinary excretion of oxalate was associated with a higher risk of chronic kidney disease progression over time, independent of other clinically important risk factors.

The findings help further understanding of the origins and progression of chronic kidney disease, and may also offer potential new approaches to therapy.

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