Background: Proteinuric glomerular diseases often are associated with tubulointerstitial injury, which imposes on the progression of renal failure. Tubular damage is partly referable to toxic effects on the tubular epithelial cells induced by filtered plasma proteins. Patients with nonselective proteinuria, that is, increased urine excretion of high-molecular-weight plasma proteins such as IgG in comparison to albumin, often have poor renal outcome. The present observational study examined correlations between the degree of tubular damage, measured by urine concentration of protein HC, and the levels of urine IgG and albuminuria.
Methods: Measurements of urine concentrations of IgG, albumin, and protein HC were performed in 56 proteinuric patients (33 males and 23 females) with nondiabetic glomerular diseases at the time of the diagnostic renal biopsy and at a mean of 49 follow-up months.
Results: A highly significant correlation between the urine IgG excretion and the urine protein HC concentration was found both at the start and at the end of the observational time (r = 0.74 and 0.65, respectively, P < 0.001). Furthermore, alterations in the urinary excretion of the two proteins in single patients correlated significantly to each other (r = 0.84, P < 0.001). The correlation between the degree of albuminuria and the protein HC excretion was significant at the time of kidney biopsy, but ceased to exist during the follow-up time. Stepwise linear regression analysis showed that in comparison with the creatinine clearance and albuminuria, only the changes in urinary IgG excretion were related to the corresponding changes in urinary protein HC excretion (r = 0.84 and r2 = 0.7, P < 0.001).
Conclusion: The findings of the study suggest that the urinary protein HC concentration correlates to the degree of IgG-uria but not to the degree of albuminuria during the course of proteinuric glomerular disease. Whether this correlation is to be explained by an intrinsic toxic effect on tubular cells executed by IgG or perhaps by some other high molecular weight proteins, needs to be investigated further. However, the results contribute to the understanding of the poor renal survival in patients with glomerular diseases and nonselective proteinuria.