Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein-4 as a Marker of Chronic Lupus Nephritis

PLoS One. 2016 Mar 28;11(3):e0151491. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0151491. eCollection 2016.


Kidney biopsy remains the mainstay of Lupus Nephritis (LN) diagnosis and prognostication. The objective of this study is to identify non-invasive biomarkers that closely parallel renal pathology in LN. Previous reports have demonstrated that serum Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 4 (IGFBP-4) was increased in diabetic nephropathy in both animal models and patients. We proceeded to assess if IGFBP4 could be associated with LN. We performed ELISA using the serum of 86 patients with LN. Normal healthy adults (N = 23) and patients with other glomerular diseases (N = 20) served as controls. Compared to the healthy controls or other glomerular disease controls, serum IGFBP-4 levels were significantly higher in the patients with LN. Serum IGFBP-4 did not correlate well with systemic lupus erythematosus disease activity index (SLEDAI), renal SLEDAI or proteinuria, but it did correlate with estimated glomerular filtration rate (R = 0.609, P < 0.0001). Interestingly, in 18 patients with proliferative LN whose blood samples were obtained at the time of renal biopsy, serum IGFBP-4 levels correlated strongly with the chronicity index of renal pathology (R = 0.713, P < 0.001). IGFBP-4 emerges a potential marker of lupus nephritis, reflective of renal pathology chronicity changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Chronic Disease
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 4 / blood*
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Lupus Nephritis / blood*
  • Lupus Nephritis / diagnosis
  • Lupus Nephritis / urine
  • Male
  • Proteinuria / urine
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Biomarkers
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 4
  • Creatinine