Background: An ELISA to analyse uromodulin in human serum (sUmod) was developed, validated and tested for clinical applications.
Methods: We assessed sUmod, a very stable antigen, in controls, patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) stages 1-5, persons with autoimmune kidney diseases and recipients of a renal allograft by ELISA.
Results: Median sUmod in 190 blood donors was 207 ng/mL (women: men, median 230 versus 188 ng/mL, P = 0.006). sUmod levels in 443 children were 193 ng/mL (median). sUmod was correlated with cystatin C (rs = -0.862), creatinine (rs = -0.802), blood urea nitrogen (BUN) (rs = -0.645) and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)-cystatin C (rs = 0.862). sUmod was lower in systemic lupus erythematosus-nephritis (median 101 ng/mL), phospholipase-A2 receptor- positive glomerulonephritis (median 83 ng/mL) and anti-glomerular basement membrane positive pulmorenal syndromes (median 37 ng/mL). Declining sUmod concentrations paralleled the loss of kidney function in 165 patients with CKD stages 1-5 with prominent changes in sUmod within the 'creatinine blind range' (71-106 µmol/L). Receiver-operating characteristic analysis between non-CKD and CKD-1 was superior for sUmod (AUC 0.90) compared with eGFR (AUC 0.39), cystatin C (AUC 0.39) and creatinine (AUC 0.27). sUmod rapidly recovered from 0 to 62 ng/mL (median) after renal transplantation in cases with immediate graft function and remained low in delayed graft function (21 ng/mL, median; day 5-9: relative risk 1.5-2.9, odds ratio 1.5-6.4). Immunogold labelling disclosed that Umod is transferred within cytoplasmic vesicles to both the apical and basolateral plasma membrane. Umod revealed a disturbed intracellular location in kidney injury.
Conclusions: We conclude that sUmod is a novel sensitive kidney-specific biomarker linked to the structural integrity of the distal nephron and to renal function.
Keywords: kidney failure; renal biomarker; serum assay; thick ascending limb; uromodulin.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of ERA-EDTA.