Determination of urinary enzymes as a marker of early renal damage in diabetic patients

J Clin Lab Anal. 2007;21(6):413-7. doi: 10.1002/jcla.20212.


Diagnosis of diabetic nephropathy in the early stages is very important since there are no clinical signs or symptoms. Urinary N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase (NAG) excretion has been recommended as a tubular dysfunction marker that elevates before other markers, such as microalbuminuria and a decrease in creatinine clearance. In this study, we compared excretion of urinary enzymes with other markers that are used routinely in diabetic nephropathy assessment. Urinary NAG, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), alkaline phosphatase (AP) activities, urea, creatinine, and albumin, with levels of serum glucose and creatinine and whole blood glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) were measured in 32 diabetes mellitus patients and 25 healthy subjects (controls). Notably, urinary NAG, AP, LDH excretion, and microalbuminuria in the diabetic patients group were significantly increased compared to those in the control groups (P<0.001, P<0.05, P<0.01, and P<0.01, respectively). Meanwhile, our results showed that the urinary NAG excretion had the highest sensitivity and specificity (100% and 87.5%, respectively) compared to other markers. We showed that measuring urinary NAG excretion could be useful for the assessment of renal failure in diabetes mellitus patients and confirmed the use of NAG as a routine screening test.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylglucosaminidase / urine*
  • Albuminuria / urine
  • Alkaline Phosphatase / urine
  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / enzymology*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / urine*
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / urine
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Insufficiency / diagnosis*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Creatinine
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Acetylglucosaminidase