Background: The respective contribution of the type of nephropathy, gender, and proteinuria, and of the potentially alterable factors blood pressure level and daily protein intake on the rate of progression in non-diabetic renal diseases is debated.
Methods: We retrospectively analysed the influence of primary renal disease, gender, urinary protein excretion, mean arterial pressure (MAP), and dietary protein intake on the rate of decline in creatinine clearance (delta Ccr) in 159 adult patients with well-defined nondiabetic kidney diseases. All patients had been followed from a baseline Crr of 40-50 ml/min/1.73 m2 until endstage renal disease and need for dialysis.
Results: Mean (+/- SD) delta Ccr (ml/min/1.73 m2/year) was 9.9 +/- 6.5 in 51 patients (45 males) with chronic glomerulonephritis, 6 +/- 2.5 in 50 patients (26 males) with polycystic kidney disease, 5.5 +/- 2.4 in 17 patients (16 males) with hypertensive angionephrosclerosis, and 3.9 +/- 2 in 41 patients (21 males) with chronic tubulointerstitial nephritis. delta Ccr was higher in males than in females (7.5 +/- 5.2 versus 4.8 +/- 2.5; P < 0.001). Linear regression analysis of the whole population disclosed a strong relationship between delta Ccr and proteinuria (r2 = 0.23; P < 0.001), and a weak relationship between delta Ccr and protein intake (r2 = 0.03; P = 0.02), but no relationship between delta Ccr and MAP (r2 = 0.01; P = 0.23). Stepwise multiple regression analysis identified the type of nephropathy, gender, and proteinuria as independent predictive factors of progression; however, these factors together accounted for only 36% of the variation in delta Ccr, suggesting the contribution of other yet unidentified factors.
Conclusions: Primary kidney disease and urinary protein excretion (reflecting the severity of renal disease in individual cases) appear as the major determinants of the rate of progression, with faster progression in males in all types of nephropathy, whereas potentially alterable factors such as blood pressure and protein intake had only a modest influence in the range of values observed in our patients.