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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a cause of global morbidity and mortality in agricultural communities. The San Luis Valley (SLV) is a rural agricultural community in southern Colorado with geographic and sociodemographic risk factors for CKD, including a water supply contaminated by heavy metals. We obtained pre-existing sociodemographic, clinical, and urine trace metal data for 1659 subjects from the San Luis Valley Diabetes Study, a prospective cohort study. We assessed prospective associations between urine tungsten (W) and time-to-CKD using accelerated failure time models (n = 1659). Additionally, logistic models were used to assess relationships between urine W and renal injury markers (NGAL, KIM1) using Tobit regression (n = 816), as well as epidemiologically-defined CKD of unknown origin (CKDu) using multiple logistic regression (n = 620). Elevated urine W was strongly associated with decreased time-to-CKD, even after controlling for hypertension and diabetes. Depending on how CKD was defined, a doubling of urine W was associated with a 27% (95% CI 11%, 46%) to 31% (14%, 51%) higher odds of developing CKD within 5 years. The relationship between urine W and select renal injury markers was not significant, although urine NGAL was modified by diabetes status. Elevated (>95%ile) urinary W was significantly associated with CKDu (OR 5.93, 1.83, 19.21) while adjusting for known CKD risk factors. Our data suggest that increased exposure to W is associated with decreased time-to-CKD and may be associated with CKDu. Given persistence of associations after controlling for diabetes and hypertension, W may exert a primary effect on the kidney, although this needs to be evaluated further in future studies. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Jacob Fox, Francesca Macaluso, Camille Moore, Elise Mesenbring, Richard J Johnson, Richard F Hamman, Katherine A James. Urine tungsten and chronic kidney disease in rural Colorado. Environmental research. 2021 Apr;195:110710

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PMID: 33460634

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