Serum Levels of the Adipokine Progranulin Depend on Renal Function

  1. Mathias Fasshauer, MD1,2
  1. 1Department of Endocrinology and Nephrology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  2. 2Leipzig University Medical Center, IFB Adiposity Diseases, Leipzig, Germany
  3. 3Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  4. 4Institute of Laboratory Medicine, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
  5. 5Division of Nephrology and KfH Renal Unit, Hospital St. Georg, Leipzig, Germany
  6. 6Outpatient Nephrology Care Unit, Leipzig, Germany
  1. Corresponding author: Mathias Fasshauer, mathias.fasshauer{at}
  1. J.R. and D.F. contributed equally to this study.


OBJECTIVE Progranulin has recently been introduced as a novel adipokine inducing insulin resistance and obesity. In the current study, we investigated renal elimination, as well as association of the adipokine with markers of the metabolic syndrome.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Progranulin serum levels were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and correlated to anthropometric and biochemical parameters of renal function and glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as inflammation, in 532 patients with stages 1–5 of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

RESULTS Median serum progranulin levels adjusted for age, sex, and BMI were significantly different between CKD stages with highest values detectable in stage 5 (stage 1, 58.3 µg/L; stage 2, 63.0 µg/L; stage 3, 65.4 µg/L; stage 4, 68.8 µg/L; and stage 5, 90.6 µg/L). Furthermore, CKD stage was the strongest independent predictor of circulating progranulin in our cohort. In addition, high-sensitivity interleukin-6 and adiponectin remained significantly and independently correlated with the adipokine.

CONCLUSIONS We demonstrate that progranulin serum levels increase with deteriorating renal function. These findings are in accordance with the hypothesis that renal clearance is a major elimination route for circulating progranulin. Furthermore, the adipokine is positively and independently associated with markers of inflammation and adiponectin.


  • A slide set summarizing this article is available online.

  • Received February 1, 2012.
  • Accepted July 25, 2012.

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 36 no. 2 410-414
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