Elevated Soluble Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Receptor and Proenkephalin Serum Levels Predict the Development of Acute Kidney Injury after Cardiac Surgery

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Jul 31;18(8):1662. doi: 10.3390/ijms18081662.


Acute kidney injury (AKI) develops in up to 40% of patients after cardiac surgery. The soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) has been identified as a biomarker for incident chronic kidney disease (CKD). Proenkephalin (proENK) also has been shown to be a biomarker for renal dysfunction. We hypothesized that pre-surgery suPAR and proENK levels might predict AKI in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Consecutive patients (n = 107) undergoing elective cardiac surgery were studied prospectively. Clinical data, laboratory parameters, suPAR and proENK serum levels were assessed before operation, after operation and days one and four post-operatively. A total of 21 (19.6%) patients developed AKI within the first four days after elective surgery. Serum levels of suPAR and proENK, but not of creatinine, were significantly higher before surgery in these patients compared to those patients without AKI. This difference remained significant for suPAR, if patients with or without AKI were matched for risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, CKD). If cardiac surgery patients with pre-existing CKD (n = 10) were excluded, only pre-operative suPAR but not proENK serum levels remained significantly elevated in patients with subsequent AKI. Thus, our findings indicate that suPAR may be a predictive biomarker for AKI in the context of cardiac surgery, even in patients without underlying CKD.

Keywords: acute kidney failure; acute kidney injury; biomarker; cardiac surgery; pro-ENK; proenkephalin; soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor; suPAR.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / blood*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Aged
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Enkephalins / blood*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / blood*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Protein Precursors / blood*
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator / blood*


  • Enkephalins
  • PLAUR protein, human
  • Protein Precursors
  • Receptors, Urokinase Plasminogen Activator
  • proenkephalin