BACKGROUND: The glycoprotein sclerostin (Scl; 22 kDa), which is involved in bone metabolism, may play a role in vascular calcification in haemodialysis (HD) patients. In the present study, we investigated the relation between serum Scl (sScl) and mortality. The effects of dialysis modality and the magnitude of the convection volume in haemodiafiltration (HDF) on sScl were also investigated.
METHODS: In a subset of patients from the CONTRAST study, a randomized controlled trial comparing HDF with HD, sScl was measured at baseline and at intervals of 6, 12, 24 and 36 months. Patients were divided into quartiles, according to their baseline sScl. The relation between time-varying sScl and mortality with a 4-year follow-up period was investigated using crude and adjusted Cox regression models. Linear mixed models were used for longitudinal measurements of sScl.
RESULTS: The mean (±standard deviation) age of 396 test subjects was 63.6 (±13.9 years), 61.6% were male and the median follow-up was 2.9 years. Subjects with the highest sScl had a lower mortality risk than those with the lowest concentrations [adjusted hazard ratio 0.51 (95% confidence interval, CI, 0.31-0.86, P = 0.01)]. Stratified models showed a stable sScl in patients treated with HD (Δ +2.9 pmol/L/year, 95% CI -0.5 to +6.3, P = 0.09) and a decreasing concentration in those treated with HDF (Δ -4.5 pmol/L/year, 95% CI -8.0 to -0.9, P = 0.02). The relative change in the latter group was related to the magnitude of the convection volume.
CONCLUSIONS: (i) A high sScl is associated with a lower mortality risk in patients with end-stage kidney disease; (ii) treatment with HDF causes sScl to fall; and (iii) the relative decline in patients treated with HDF is dependent on the magnitude of the convection volume.