Urine Leucine-Rich α-2 Glycoprotein 1 (LRG1) Predicts the Risk of Progression to End-Stage Kidney Disease in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Care. 2023 Feb 1;46(2):408-415. doi: 10.2337/dc22-1611.


Objective: Leucine-rich α-2 glycoprotein 1 (LRG1) was recently identified as an amplifier of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)-induced kidney fibrosis in animal models. We aimed to study whether urine LRG1 is associated with risk of progression to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Research design and methods: A total of 1,837 participants with type 2 diabetes and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) >30 mL/min/1.73 m2 were recruited from a regional hospital and a primary care facility. Association of urine LRG1 with risk of ESKD (progression to sustained eGFR <15 mL/min/1.73 m2, dialysis, or death resulting from renal causes) was assessed by survival analyses.

Results: During a median follow-up of 8.6 (interquartile range 5.8-9.6) years, 134 incident ESKD events were identified. Compared with those in the lowest tertile, participants with baseline urine LRG1 in the highest tertile had a 1.91-fold (95% CI 1.04-3.50) increased risk of progression to ESKD, after adjustment for cardiorenal risk factors, including eGFR and albuminuria. As a continuous variable, 1 SD increment in urine LRG1 was associated with a 1.53-fold (95% CI 1.19-1.98) adjusted risk of ESKD. Of note, the association of urine LRG1 with ESKD was independent of plasma LRG1. Moreover, urine LRG1 was associated with rapid kidney function decline and progression to macroalbuminuria, two common pathways leading to ESKD.

Conclusions: Urine LRG1, a TGF-β signaling modulator, predicts risk of progression to ESKD independently of clinical risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes, suggesting that it may be a novel factor involved in the pathophysiological pathway leading to kidney disease progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Disease Progression
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Glycoproteins
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / complications
  • Leucine
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta


  • Glycoproteins
  • Leucine
  • LRG1 protein, human
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta