Urinary levels of podocyte-derived microparticles are associated with the progression of chronic kidney disease

Jian Lu, Ze-Bo Hu, Pei-Pei Chen, Chen-Chen Lu, Jia-Xiu Zhang, Xue-Qi Li, Ben-Yin Yuan, Si-Jia Huang, Kun-Ling Ma


Background: Podocyte-derived microparticles (MPs) could be secreted from activated or apoptotic podocytes. An increased number of podocyte-derived MPs in the urine might reflect podocyte injury in renal diseases. This study aimed to observe the change of urinary podocyte-derived MP levels in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and to further explore its correlation with the progression of CKD.
Methods: A prospective, longitudinal study was conducted in eighty patients with biopsy-proven CKD. Podocyte-derived MPs (annexin V and podocalyxin positive) were detected by flow cytometry. The number of urinary podocyte-derived MPs was analyzed to evaluate the association with biochemical measurements and pathological glomerulosclerosis assessment. Patients with idiopathic membranous nephropathy (IMN) were followed up after the six-month treatment of prednisone combined with tacrolimus to evaluate the association of urinary podocyte-derived MP levels and the remission of IMN.
Results: The CKD patients had higher urinary podocyte-derived MP levels compared with healthy controls (HCs). Baseline urinary levels of podocyte-derived MPs were positively correlated with 24-hour proteinuria, while were inversely correlated with the percentage of global glomerulosclerosis. The urinary podocyte-derived MPs levels had good discrimination for glomerulosclerosis [area under curve (AUC), 0.66]. The urinary podocyte-derived MPs levels in IMN patients were significantly decreased accompanied with the recovery of abnormal clinical parameters after six-month treatment.
Conclusions: The urinary levels of podocyte-derived MPs were closely associated with podocyte injury and glomerulosclerosis, which could be useful for monitoring disease activity in CKD patients. Urinary podocyte-derived MPs might be a non-invasive biomarker for the evaluation of early CKD progression.