Reduced urinary excretion of epidermal growth factor in incipient and overt diabetic nephropathy

Diabet Med. 1989 Mar;6(2):121-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.1989.tb02098.x.


To study the relationship between glomerular and tubular function we investigated glomerular filtration rate (GFR), urinary albumin excretion, and urinary excretion of epidermal growth factor (EGF, a mitogenic peptide synthesized in the renal tubular cells) in normal subjects (group I, n = 7) and in Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetic patients with normoalbuminuria (group II, n = 11); with incipient nephropathy (microalbuminuria) (group III, n = 9); with nephropathy and normal GFR (group IV, n = 12); and with reduced GFR (group V, n = 8). EGF (nmol 24 h-1) decreased with progressive glomerular involvement, from 7.9 (4.1-10.5) (median and range) in group I, to 6.7 (1.3-9.2) in group II, 5.0 (3.6-7.4) in group III, 4.1 (2.5-9.5) in group IV, and 1.1 (0.1-2.5) in group V. The urinary excretion of EGF was significantly reduced in patients with elevated UAE (group III, IV, and V) compared with normal control subjects (p less than 0.05). A significant correlation between urinary excretion of EGF and GFR (r = 0.71, p less than 0.001) and an inverse correlation between the urinary excretion of EGF and albumin (r = -0.35, p less than 0.05) was demonstrated in the Type 1 diabetic patients with GFR greater than 90 ml min-1. Our study demonstrates that urinary excretion of epidermal growth factor diminishes with increasing nephron impairment, and that renal tubular function as judged by the excretion of EGF is reduced early in the development of diabetic kidney disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Albuminuria
  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / urine*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / physiopathology
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / urine*
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / urine*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values


  • Biomarkers
  • Epidermal Growth Factor