Background: A recent study has reported that incidence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is higher in evacuees, but the molecular mechanism still remains unclear. One plausible hypothesis is a change in vascular function following to psychological distress. In order to assess molecular mechanisms underlying this association, we examined whether cardiovascular disease (CVD)-associated miRNAs (miR-126, miR-197, and miR-223) were associated with CKD among Japanese elderly survivors after an earthquake. Methods: We analyzed 1385 individuals (670 men and 715 women) who participated in a post-disaster health check-up after the Great East Japan Earthquake, which occurred in 2011. The check-up involved collection of information about lifestyle, clinical history, the degree of housing damage, and baseline measurement of the estimated glomerular filtration rate. Expression levels of miRNAs were determined using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was calculated using sex, age, and serum creatinine. CKD was defined as eGFR < 60 ml/min/1.73m2. The multivariable regression analyses were performed to examine the associations between CVD-associated miRNAs and CKD after adjusting potential confounders. Results: Mean age (standard deviation) of participants with normal kidney function and CKD was 62.7 (10.6) and 71.9 (8.1) years, respectively. Expression levels of these miRNAs in participants with CKD were significantly lower than normal kidney function (all p < 0.001). Even after adjusting for lifestyle, clinical profiles, and psychological distress, significant associations between three miRNAs and CKD still remained. A significant linear association between the cumulative score of these miRNAs and CKD was found (p = 0.04). Conclusions: This cross-sectional study suggested that CVD-associated miRNAs were an important factor of CKD in an elderly Japanese population after earthquake. Future studies need to examine this association in longitudinal dataset.
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