Background: Urinary excretion of alpha-1-microglobulin and beta-2-microglobulin reflects tubular damage and predicts outcome in patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy with reasonable accuracy. Urinary kidney injury molecule-1 and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin are novel biomarkers of tubular damage. We investigated if these markers could improve prediction of outcome in idiopathic membranous nephropathy.
Methods: We measured kidney injury molecule-1 and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin in urine samples from patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy, who had nephrotic proteinuria and normal renal function. Excretion of alpha-1-microglobulin and beta-2-microglobulin had been measured previously. Progression was defined as a serum creatinine rise >30%, a rise in serum creatinine to an absolute value of 135 mu mol/L, or a clinical decision to start immunosuppressive therapy. Remission was defined as proteinuria 50% reduction from baseline.
Results: Sixty-nine patients were included. Median follow-up was 35 months (interquartile range 18-63 months). Progression occurred in 30 patients (44%), and spontaneous remission in 36 (52%). Kidney injury molecule-1 and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin excretion rates were significantly correlated with each other, and with alpha-1-microglobulin and beta-2-microglobulin. The areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves for progression were 0.75 (0.62-0.87) for kidney injury molecule-1 and 0.74 (0.62-0.87) for neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin. In multivariate analysis with either alpha-1-microglobulin and beta-2-microglobulin, kidney injury molecule-1 and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin did not independently predict outcome.
Conclusion: Kidney injury molecule-1 and neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin excretion rates correlated with excretion rates of other tubular damage markers and predicted outcome in patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy. They did not add prognostic value compared to measurement of either alpha-1-microglobulin or beta-2-microglobulin.