Urinary Peptides as Potential Non-Invasive Biomarkers for Lupus Nephritis: Results of the Peptidu-LUP Study

J Clin Med. 2021 Apr 14;10(8):1690. doi: 10.3390/jcm10081690.


Background: Lupus nephritis (LN) is a severe manifestation of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). The therapeutic strategy relies on kidney biopsy (KB) results. We tested whether urinary peptidome analysis could non-invasively differentiate active from non-active LN. Design: Urinary samples were collected from 93 patients (55 with active LN and 38 with non-active LN), forming a discovery (n = 42) and an independent validation (n = 51) cohort. Clinical characteristics were collected at inclusion and prospectively for 24 months. The urinary peptidome was analyzed by capillary-electrophoresis coupled to mass-spectrometry, comparing active LN to non-active LN, and assessing chronic lesions and response to therapy. The value of previously validated prognostic (CKD273) and differential diagnostic (LN172) signatures was evaluated. Results: Urinary peptides could not discriminate between active and non-active LN or predict early response to therapy. Tubulo-interstitial fibrosis was correlated to the CKD273. The LN172 score identified 92.5% of samples as LN. Few patients developed new-onset CKD. Conclusions: We validated the CKD273 and LN172 classifiers but did not identify a robust signature that could predict active LN and replace KB. The value of urinary peptidome to predict long-term CKD, or renal flares in SLE, remains to be evaluated.

Keywords: biomarker; classification; kidney biopsy; lupus nephritis; non-invasive; peptidomics; prognosis; proteomics; systemic lupus erythematosus; urine.