Purpose of review: The paucity of early, predictive, noninvasive biomarkers has impaired our ability to institute potentially effective therapies for acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease in a timely manner.
Recent findings: Promising novel biomarkers for acute kidney injury include a plasma panel (neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin and cystatin C) and a urine panel (neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, interleukin-18, and kidney injury molecule-1). For chronic kidney disease, these include a similar plasma panel and a urine panel (neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin, asymetric dimethylarginine, and liver-type fatty acid-binding protein). The biomarker panels will probably be useful for assessing the duration and severity of kidney disease, and for predicting progression and adverse clinical outcomes. It is also likely that the biomarker panels will help to distinguish between the various etiologies of acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease.
Summary: The tools of functional genomics and proteomics have provided us with promising novel biomarkers for acute kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. It will be important in future studies to validate the sensitivity and specificity of these biomarker panels in clinical samples from large cohorts and in multiple clinical situations. Such studies will be facilitated by the availability of commercial tools for reproducible measurement of these panels.