Objective: To determine the role of markers of plasma protein damage by glycation, oxidation and nitration in microalbuminuria onset or subsequent decline of glomerular filtration rate (termed "early GFR decline") in patients with type 1 diabetes.
Methods: From the 1(st) Joslin Kidney Study, we selected 30 patients with longstanding normoalbuminuria and 55 patients with new onset microalbuminuria. Patients with microalbuminuria had 8-12 years follow-up during which 33 had stable GFR and 22 early GFR decline. Mean baseline GFR(CYSTATIN C) was similar between the three groups. Glycation, oxidation and nitration markers were measured in protein and ultrafiltrate at baseline by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry using the most reliable methods currently available.
Results: Though none were significantly different between patients with microalbuminuria with stable or early GFR decline, levels of 6 protein damage adduct residues of plasma protein and 4 related free adducts of plasma ultrafiltrate were significantly different in patients with microalbuminuria compared to normoalbuminuria controls. Three protein damage adduct residues were decreased and 3 increased in microalbuminuria while 3 free adducts were decreased and one increased in microalbuminuria. The most profound differences were of N-formylkynurenine (NFK) protein adduct residue and N(ω)-carboxymethylarginine (CMA) free adduct in which levels were markedly lower in microalbuminuria (P<0.001 for both).
Conclusions: Complex processes influence levels of plasma protein damage and related proteolysis product free adducts in type 1 diabetes and microalbuminuria. The effects observed point to the possibility that patients who have efficient mechanisms of disposal of damaged proteins might be at an increased risk of developing microalbuminuria but not early renal function decline. The findings support the concept that the mechanisms responsible for microalbuminuria may differ from the mechanisms involved in the initiation of early renal function decline.