FGF23 impairs peripheral microvascular function in renal failure

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Cardiovascular diseases account for ~50% of mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is independently associated with endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular mortality. We hypothesized that CKD impairs microvascular endothelial function and that this can be attributed to FGF23. Mice were subjected to partial nephrectomy (5/6Nx) or sham surgery. To evaluate the functional role of FGF23, non-CKD mice received FGF23 injections and CKD mice received FGF23-blocking antibodies after 5/6Nx surgery. To examine microvascular function, myocardial perfusion in vivo and vascular function of gracilis resistance arteries ex vivo were assessed in mice. 5/6Nx surgery blunted ex vivo vasodilator responses to acetylcholine, whereas responses to sodium nitroprusside or endothelin were normal. In vivo FGF23 injections in non-CKD mice mimicked this endothelial defect, and FGF23 antibodies in 5/6Nx mice prevented endothelial dysfunction. Stimulation of microvascular endothelial cells with FGF23 in vitro did not induce ERK phosphorylation. Increased plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine concentrations were increased by FGF23 and strongly correlated with endothelial dysfunction. Increased FGF23 concentration did not mimic impaired endothelial function in the myocardium of 5/6Nx mice. In conclusion, impaired peripheral endothelium-dependent vasodilatation in 5/6Nx mice is mediated by FGF23 and can be prevented by blocking FGF23. These data corroborate FGF23 as an important target to combat cardiovascular disease in CKD. NEW & NOTEWORTHY In the present study, we provide the first evidence that fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is a cause of peripheral endothelial dysfunction in a model of early chronic kidney disease (CKD) and that endothelial dysfunction in CKD can be prevented by blockade of FGF23. This pathological effect on endothelial cells was induced by long-term exposure of physiological levels of FGF23. Mechanistically, increased plasma asymmetric dimethylarginine concentrations were strongly associated with this endothelial dysfunction in CKD and were increased by FGF23.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1414-H1424
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • FGF23
  • endothelial dysfunction
  • microcirculation
  • nitric oxide

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