Association of kidney fibrosis with urinary peptides: a path towards non-invasive liquid biopsies?

Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 5;7(1):16915. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-17083-w.


Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a prevalent cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. A hallmark of CKD progression is renal fibrosis characterized by excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. In this study, we aimed to investigate the correlation of the urinary proteome classifier CKD273 and individual urinary peptides with the degree of fibrosis. In total, 42 kidney biopsies and urine samples were examined. The percentage of fibrosis per total tissue area was assessed in Masson trichrome stained kidney tissues. The urinary proteome was analysed by capillary electrophoresis coupled to mass spectrometry. CKD273 displayed a significant and positive correlation with the degree of fibrosis (Rho = 0.430, P = 0.0044), while the routinely used parameters (glomerular filtration rate, urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio and urine protein-to-creatinine ratio) did not (Rho = -0.222; -0.137; -0.070 and P = 0.16; 0.39; 0.66, respectively). We identified seven fibrosis-associated peptides displaying a significant and negative correlation with the degree of fibrosis. All peptides were collagen fragments, suggesting that these may be causally related to the observed accumulation of ECM in the kidneys. CKD273 and specific peptides are significantly associated with kidney fibrosis; such an association could not be detected by other biomarkers for CKD. These non-invasive fibrosis-related biomarkers can potentially be implemented in future trials.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Collagen / urine
  • Electrophoresis, Capillary
  • Female
  • Fibrosis / pathology*
  • Fibrosis / urine
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Liquid Biopsy / methods*
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptides / urine*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / pathology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / urine


  • Peptides
  • Collagen