Urinary Proteomics for Early Diagnosis in Diabetic Nephropathy

  1. Peter Rossing3
  1. 1mosaiques diagnostics GmbH, Hannover, Germany
  2. 2Austin Health, Heidelberg, Australia
  3. 3Steno Diabetes Center, Gentofte, Denmark
  4. 4Department of Endocrinology & Diabetes, St Vincent's Hospital & University of Melbourne, Fitzroy, Australia
  5. 5BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, U.K.
  1. Corresponding author: Petra Zürbig, zuerbig{at}


Diabetic nephropathy (DN) is a progressive kidney disease, a well-known complication of long-standing diabetes. DN is the most frequent reason for dialysis in many Western countries. Early detection may enable development of specific drugs and early initiation of therapy, thereby postponing/preventing the need for renal replacement therapy. We evaluated urinary proteome analysis as a tool for prediction of DN. Capillary electrophoresis–coupled mass spectrometry was used to profile the low–molecular weight proteome in urine. We examined urine samples from a longitudinal cohort of type 1 and 2 diabetic patients (n = 35) using a previously generated chronic kidney disease (CKD) biomarker classifier to assess peptides of collected urines for signs of DN. The application of this classifier to samples of normoalbuminuric subjects up to 5 years prior to development of macroalbuminuria enabled early detection of subsequent progression to macroalbuminuria (area under the curve [AUC] 0.93) compared with urinary albumin routinely used to determine the diagnosis (AUC 0.67). Statistical analysis of each urinary CKD biomarker depicted its regulation with respect to diagnosis of DN over time. Collagen fragments were prominent biomarkers 3–5 years before onset of macroalbuminuria. Before albumin excretion starts to increase, there is a decrease in collagen fragments. Urinary proteomics enables noninvasive assessment of DN risk at an early stage via determination of specific collagen fragments.

  • Received March 20, 2012.
  • Accepted May 30, 2012.

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