Biomarkers Can Identify Kidney Disease

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., Oct. 24 (UPI) — Three biomarkers — substances that may signal disease — could help predict kidney disease, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Caroline Fox of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Framingham Heart Study in Framingham, Mass., says adding the blood levels homocysteine, aldosterone, and B-type natriuretic to standard risk factors like high blood pressure led to an additional 7 percent of patients being classified at high risk of chronic kidney disease.

“Our results identify biomarkers that can improve chronic kidney disease risk prediction,” Fox says in a statement.

The study, scheduled for publication in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, explains high levels of homocysteine — an amino acid — are already considered a marker of atherosclerosis risk. Aldosterone is a hormone that affects salt handling by the kidneys and B-type natriuretic peptide is an indicator of heart damage in patients with heart failure.

Fox and colleagues looked at six biomarkers when testing stored blood samples of 2,300 participants in a long-term study of heart disease — the Framingham Offspring Study. All had normal kidney function when they provided blood in 1995-1998. About 10 years later, 9 percent had developed chronic kidney disease and 8 percent had high levels of protein in the urine — a key sign of deteriorating kidney function.

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