Proximal tubule proteins are significantly elevated in bladder urine of patients with ureteropelvic junction obstruction and may represent novel biomarkers: A pilot study

Claire Gerber, Miriam Harel, Miranda L. Lynch, Katherine W. Herbst, Fernando A. Ferrer, Linda H. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose Ureteropelvic junction obstruction (UPJO) is the major cause of hydronephrosis in children and may lead to renal injury and early renal dysfunction. However, diagnosis of the degree of obstruction and severity of renal injury relies on invasive and often inconclusive renal scans. Biomarkers from voided urine that detect early renal injury are highly desirable because of their noninvasive collection and their potential to assist in earlier and more reliable diagnosis of the severity of obstruction. Early in response to UPJO, increased intrarenal pressure directly impacts the proximal tubule brush border. We hypothesize that single-pass, apically expressed proximal tubule brush border proteins will be shed into the urine early and rapidly and will be reliable noninvasive urinary biomarkers, providing the tools for a more reliable stratification of UPJO patients. Materials and methods We performed a prospective cohort study at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. Bladder urine samples from 12 UPJO patients were obtained prior to surgical intervention. Control urine samples were collected from healthy pediatric patients presenting with primary nocturnal enuresis. We determined levels of NGAL, KIM-1 (previously identified biomarkers), CD10, CD13, and CD26 (potentially novel biomarkers) by ELISA in control and experimental urine samples. Urinary creatinine levels were used to normalize the urinary protein levels measured by ELISA. Results Each of the proximal tubule proteins outperformed the previously published biomarkers. No differences in urinary NGAL and KIM-1 levels were observed between control and obstructed patients (p = 0.932 and p = 0.799, respectively). However, levels of CD10, CD13, and CD26 were significantly higher in the voided urine of obstructed individuals when compared with controls (p = 0.002, p = 0.024, and p = 0.007, respectively) (Figure). Conclusions Targeted identification of reliable, noninvasive biomarkers of renal injury is critical to aid in diagnosing patients at risk, guiding therapeutic decisions and monitoring treatment efficacy. Proximal tubule brush border proteins are reliably detected in the urine of obstructed patients and may be more effective at predicting UPJO. Box plot of known biomarkers (KIM-1 (A) and NGAL (B)) compared with novel proximal tubule biomarkers (CD10 (C), CD13 (D) and CD26 (E)). Data expressed in relative units.∗p < 0.05;∗∗p < 0.01.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120.e1-120.e7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological markers
  • Proximal tubules
  • Ureteral obstruction
  • Urinary bladder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Urology


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