Biomarkers of acute kidney injury in children: discovery, evaluation, and clinical application

Pediatr Nephrol. 2011 Jan;26(1):29-40. doi: 10.1007/s00467-010-1576-0. Epub 2010 Jul 10.


Acute kidney injury (AKI) in children is associated with increased mortality and prolonged length of hospital stay and may also be associated with long-term chronic kidney disease development. Despite encouraging results on AKI treatment in animal studies, no specific treatment has yet been successful in humans. One of the important factors contributing to this problem is the lack of an early AKI diagnostic test. Serum creatinine, the current main diagnostic test for AKI, rises late in AKI pathophysiology and is an inaccurate marker of acute changes in glomerular filtration rate. Therefore, new biomarkers of AKI are needed. With great advancements in genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, new AKI biomarkers, mainly consisting of urinary proteins that appear in response to renal tubular cell injury, have been, and continue to be, discovered. These new biomarkers offer promise for early AKI diagnosis and for the depiction of severity of renal injury occurring with AKI. This review provides a summary of what a biomarker is, why we need new biomarkers of AKI, and how biomarkers are discovered and should be evaluated. The review also provides a summary of selected AKI biomarkers that have been studied in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / diagnosis*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Child
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics
  • Proteomics


  • Biomarkers