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Urine Markers May Reveal Kidney Damage Earlier

THURSDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have pinpointed certain markers in urine that may indicate acute kidney injury (AKI), a finding they believe could lead to a simple urine test to diagnose AKI early and prevent kidney failure.

AKI usually doesn't show obvious physical symptoms, which is why researchers are eager to find other signs of disease.

The study found that urine samples from mice and humans with AKI had elevated levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) as well as its mRNA (the template for protein synthesis).

This suggests that the gene that encodes MCP-1 and its mRNA is activated in patients with AKI, said the researchers.

Previous studies have found MCP-1, which plays a role in recruiting immune cells to injured or infected sites in the body, in the joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and in the urine of people with lupus.

Using a new technique called chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, the scientists were also able to show changes in proteins (known as histones) that can activate the gene that produces MCP-1. This is the first study to show that these protein modifiers can be detected in human urine.

The research will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

"This is a new diagnostic test that provides information about what processes are actually inducing acute kidney injury; however, a much larger prospective study is required to ultimately determine clinical utility," wrote Dr. Richard Zager of the clinical research division at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and colleagues in a news release from the publisher.

More information

The U.S. National Kidney Disease Education Program explains how to keep kidneys healthy.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Nov. 11, 2010

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