Ratio of Urinary Proteins to Albumin Excretion Shifts Substantially during Progression of the Podocytopathy Alport Syndrome, and Spot Urine Is a Reliable Method to Detect These Pathologic Changes

Cells. 2023 May 7;12(9):1333. doi: 10.3390/cells12091333.


The urinary albumin- and protein-to-creatinine ratios (UACR and UPCR, respectively) are key endpoints in most clinical trials assessing risk of progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD). For the first time, the current study compares the UACR versus the UPCR head-to-head at early stages of CKD, taking use of the hereditary podocytopathy Alport syndrome (AS) as a model disease for any CKD. Urine samples originated from the prospective randomized, controlled EARLY PRO-TECT Alport trial (NCT01485978). Urine samples from 47 children with confirmed diagnoses of AS at very early stages of CKD were divided according to the current stage of AS: stage 0 (UACR < 30 mg/g), stage 1 (30-300 mg/g) or stage 2 (>300 mg/g). The range of estimated glomerular filtration rate was 75-187.6 mL/min. The mean age was 10.4 ± 4.5 years. In children at stage 0, proteinuria in spot urine, confirmed in 24 h urine, was almost ten times higher than albuminuria (106.4 ± 42.2 vs. 12.5 ± 9.7; p < 0.05); it was "only" about three times higher in stage 1 (328.5 ± 210.1 vs. 132.3 ± 80.5; p < 0.05) and almost equal in stage 2 (1481.9 ± 983.4 vs. 1109.7 ± 873.6; p = 0.36). In 17 children, UACRs and UPCRs were measured simultaneously in 24 h urine and spot urine in the same study visit. Interestingly, the UACR (and UPCR) in 24 h urine vs. in spot urine varied by less than 10% (266.8 ± 426.4 vs. 291.2 ± 530.2). In conclusion, our study provides the first evidence that in patients with normal glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and low amounts of albuminuria, especially in children with podocytopathies such as AS, measuring the UACR and UPCR in spot urine is a reliable and convenient alternative to 24 h urine collection. Our study advocates both the UACR and the UPCR as relevant diagnostic biomarkers in future clinical trials in children with glomerular diseases because the UPCR seems to be a very significant parameter at very early stages of podocytopathies. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funded this trial (01KG1104).

Keywords: Alport syndrome; albuminuria; diagnostic marker; glomerulus; hereditary kidney diseases; mechanical stretch; podocytes; podocytopathies; proteinuria; renal fibrosis; type IV collagen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Albumins / metabolism
  • Albuminuria
  • Child
  • Creatinine
  • Humans
  • Nephritis, Hereditary* / diagnosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic*


  • Albumins
  • Creatinine

Grants and funding

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funded the trial (01KG1104 to O. Gross).