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BACKGROUND: Fibroblast growth factor-23 (FGF-23) is associated with a range of cardiovascular and noncardiovascular diseases in conventional epidemiological studies, but substantial residual confounding may exist. Mendelian randomization approaches can help control for such confounding. METHODS: SCALLOP Consortium data of 19,195 participants were used to generate an FGF-23 genetic score. Data from 337,448 UK Biobank participants were used to estimate associations between higher genetically predicted FGF-23 concentration and the odds of any atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (n=26,266 events), nonatherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (n=12,652), and noncardiovascular diseases previously linked to FGF-23. Measurements of carotid intima-media thickness and left ventricular mass were available in a subset. Associations with cardiovascular outcomes were also tested in three large case-control consortia: CARDIOGRAMplusC4D (coronary artery disease, n=181,249 cases), MEGASTROKE (stroke, n=34,217), and HERMES (heart failure, n=47,309). RESULTS: We identified 34 independent variants for circulating FGF-23, which formed a validated genetic score. There were no associations between genetically predicted FGF-23 and any of the cardiovascular or noncardiovascular outcomes. In UK Biobank, the odds ratio (OR) for any atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease per 1-SD higher genetically predicted logFGF-23 was 1.03 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.98 to 1.08), and for any nonatherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, it was 1.01 (95% CI, 0.94 to 1.09). The ORs in the case-control consortia were 1.00 (95% CI, 0.97 to 1.03) for coronary artery disease, 1.01 (95% CI, 0.95 to 1.07) for stroke, and 1.00 (95% CI, 0.95 to 1.05) for heart failure. In those with imaging, logFGF-23 was not associated with carotid or cardiac abnormalities. CONCLUSIONS: Genetically predicted FGF-23 levels are not associated with atherosclerotic and nonatherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases, suggesting no important causal link. PODCAST: This article contains a podcast at

Original publication




Journal article


Clin J Am Soc Nephrol

Publication Date





17 - 27


Humans, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular Diseases, Carotid Intima-Media Thickness, Coronary Artery Disease, Fibroblast Growth Factor-23, Heart Failure, Mendelian Randomization Analysis, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Risk Factors, Stroke