Background: Proteinuria is the most sensitive predictor of development of progressive renal insufficiency, with increasing focus on the composition of proteinuria, particularly high molecular weight proteins such as immunoglobulin G (IgG) (molecular weight 150 kDa). Differing methods of assessing excretion of proteinuria molecules have limited interpretation of results. We aimed to assess the utility of available indices of IgG, total proteinuria and albumin excretions as predictors of chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression in patients with primary glomerulonephritis.
Methods: We recruited 97 patients with primary glomerulonephritis and measured 24-h urinary protein excretion, 24-h urinary albumin excretion, selectivity index, albumin:creatinine ratio, urinary IgG:creatinine ratio, fractional excretion of albumin (FE Alb) and fractional excretion of IgG (FE IgG) at baseline. The composite endpoint was developing stage 5 CKD, requiring RRT or death. Receiver operating characteristics curve analysis was used to assess the value of each measure in predicting outcome. From this analysis, high- and low-risk patient groups according to each measure were established. These were then tested using Kaplan-Meier and Cox survival analysis.
Results: During a median follow-up of 7.07 years, 23 patients developed the primary endpoint. FE IgG and FE Alb were the most sensitive predictive tests. The hazard ratios (HR) of developing the primary endpoint using FE IgG [HR 37.1 (95% CI 8.6-158.8)] and FE Alb [HR 35.2 (95% CI 8.2-150.8)] cut-offs were double those using the other measures.
Conclusions: FE IgG and FE Alb are superior to conventional measures of proteinuria in predicting outcome in patients with primary glomerulonephritis, possibly because they are more accurate indicators of impairment of glomerular permselectivity. FE Alb should be used, in conjunction with other measures of proteinuria, in future studies of prediction of CKD progression.