Thyroid function, reduced kidney function and incident chronic kidney disease in a community-based population: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study

Ulla T. Schultheiss, Natalie Daya, Morgan E. Grams, Jochen Seufert, Michael Steffes, Josef Coresh, Elizabeth Selvin, Anna Köttgen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Background Reduced kidney function is a common public health problem that increases risk for a wide variety of adverse outcomes, making the identification of potentially modifiable factors associated with the development of incident chronic kidney disease (CKD) important. Alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis have been linked to reduced kidney function, but the association of thyroid function with the development of incident CKD is largely uncharacterized. Methods Concentrations of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (FT4), triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) were quantified in 12 785 black and white participants of the ongoing community-based prospective Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study. Thyroid markers and clinical categories of thyroid dysfunction (euthyroidism, combined subclinical and overt hypothyroidism, combined subclinical and overt hyperthyroidism) were also evaluated for their association with reduced kidney function (estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m 2) at study baseline and with incident CKD over a median follow-up time of 19.6 years. Results Higher TSH and FT4 as well as lower T3 concentrations were strongly and independently associated with reduced kidney function at study baseline. The clinical entities hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism were also associated with higher odds of baseline reduced kidney function, but this was not significant. However, none of the markers of thyroid function nor different clinical categories of thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or TPOAb positivity) were associated with incident CKD in adjusted analyses. Conclusions Elevated TSH, FT4 and reduced T3 concentrations were associated with reduced kidney function cross-sectionally. The lack of association with the development of incident CKD suggests that altered thyroid function in the general population is not causally related to CKD development, but screening for thyroidal status may be especially relevant in persons with reduced kidney function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1874-1881
Number of pages8
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017



  • chronic kidney disease
  • cohort study
  • epidemiology
  • thyroid disease
  • thyroid hormones

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