Depressive symptoms linked to rapid decline in kidney function


  • Among people with healthy kidneys, those who had more frequent depressive symptoms were more likely to show signs of rapid decline in kidney function over a median follow-up of 4 years.

Washington, DC (May 28, 2021) – In a study of adults with normal kidney function, those with frequent depressive symptoms were more likely to later experience a rapid decline in kidney function. The study will appear in a future issue of CJASN.

Depression is a common condition among middle-aged and older adults, and it can contribute to a variety of mental and physical problems. Previous research has found a link between depressive symptoms and rapid decline in kidney function in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). To look for a potential link in adults with normal kidney function, a team led by Xianhui Qin, MD (Nanfang Hospital, Southern Medical University, China) looked at information on 4,763 people with healthy kidneys when they enrolled in the China Health program and Longitudinal Retirement Study (CHARLS).

At the start of the study, 39% of participants had elevated depressive symptoms, and during a median follow-up of 4 years, 260 (6%) participants experienced a rapid decline in kidney function. There was a significant association between depressive symptoms at the start of the study and the rapid decline in kidney function during follow-up. Participants with frequent depressive symptoms were 1.4 times more likely to experience a rapid decline in kidney function than participants with infrequent depressive symptoms, after adjustments.

“CRF is one of the leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and death worldwide. Therefore, identifying more modifiable risk factors can potentially reduce the enormous burden of it. CKD and its associated complications leading to early detection and prevention, “said Dr Qin. “Although our study does not show causation, it did show that high depressive symptoms were significantly associated with rapid decline in kidney function in Chinese adults with normal kidney function. If further confirmed, our data provide evidence for screening for depressive symptoms and effective psychosocial interventions to improve prevention of CRF. “

An accompanying Pantiet Voice article presents the perspective of a Chinese-origin double kidney transplant of American origin.


Study co-authors are Zhuxian Zhang, MD, Panpan He, MD, Mengyi Liu, MD, Chun Zhou, MD, Chengzhang Liu, MS, Huan Li, MD, Yuanyuan Zhang, MD, Qinqin Li, MD, Ziliang Ye, MD, Qimeng Wu, MD, Guobao Wang, MD and Min Liang, MD.

Disclosures: Dr. Xianhui Qin reports grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China. No other disclosures were reported.

The article, titled “Association of depressive symptoms with rapid decline in kidney function in adults with normal kidney function”, will appear online at http: // / on May 28, 2021, doi: 10.2215 / CJN.18441120.

The patient’s voice, titled “Depressive Symptoms and Rapidly Declining Kidney Function”, will be available online at http: // / on May 28, 2021, doi: 10.2215 / CJN.04050321.

The contents of this article do not reflect the views or opinions of the American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and opinions expressed herein lies entirely with the authors. ASN does not offer medical advice. All the content of ASN’s publications is for information purposes only and is not intended to cover all the uses, instructions, precautions, drug interactions or possible adverse effects. This content should not be used in a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any medication, changing your diet, or starting or stopping any treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of the information accessible via ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Since 1966, ASN has led the fight to prevent, treat and cure kidney disease around the world by raising awareness among healthcare professionals and scientists, by advancing research and innovation, by communicating new knowledge and by advocating for the highest quality patient care. ASN has more than 21,000 members representing 131 countries. For more information, visit http: //

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