Higher plasma fibroblast growth factor 23 levels are associated with a higher risk profile in pulmonary arterial hypertension

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Metabolic abnormalities are proposed to contribute to pulmonary arterial as well as right ventricular remodelling in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Among the proposed abnormalities are altered glucose and lipid processing, mitochondrial malfunction, oxidative stress as well as vitamin D and iron abnormalities. In the present study, we investigated 11 metabolic plasma biomarkers, with the hypothesis that metabolic proteins may mirror disease severity in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Using proximity extension assays, plasma metabolic biomarkers were measured in 48 pulmonary arterial hypertension patients at diagnosis and, in 33 of them, at an early treatment follow-up, as well as in 16 healthy controls. Among the studied metabolic biomarkers, plasma fibroblast growth factor-23 (p < 0.001), fibroblast growth factor-21 (p < 0.001), fatty acid binding protein 4 (p < 0.001) and lectin-like oxidised low-density lipoprotein receptor 1 (p < 0.001) were increased and paraoxonase-3 was decreased (p < 0.001) in pulmonary arterial hypertension at diagnosis versus controls. Fibroblast growth factor-23 showed the strongest correlations to studied clinical parameters and was therefore selected for further analyses. Fibroblast growth factor-23 correlated specifically to mean right atrial pressure (r = 0.67, p < 0.001), six-min walking distance (r = −0.66, p < 0.001), NT-proBNP (r = 0.64, p < 0.001), venous oxygen saturation (r = −0.61, p < 0.001), cardiac index (r = −0.39, p < 0.007) and pulmonary vascular resistance (r = 0.37, p < 0.01). Fibroblast growth factor-23 correlated moreover to ESC/ERS (r = 0.72, p < 0.001) and the REVEAL risk score (r = 0.61, p < 0.001). Comparing early treatment follow-up with baseline, fibroblast growth factor-23 decreased (p < 0.02), with changes in fibroblast growth factor-23 correlating to changes in six-min walking distance (r = −0.56, p < 0.003), venous oxygen saturation (r = −0.46, p < 0.01), pulmonary vascular resistance (r = 0.43, p < 0.02), mean right atrial pressure (r = 0.38, p < 0.04) and cardiac index (r = −0.39, p < 0.04). Elevated plasma fibroblast growth factor-23 levels at pulmonary arterial hypertension diagnosis were associated with worse haemodynamics and a higher risk profile, and were decreased after the administration of pulmonary arterial hypertension-specific treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPulmonary Circulation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems

Free keywords

  • fibroblast growth factor 23
  • metabolism
  • pulmonary arterial hypertension
  • risk assessment


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