Use of novel structural features to identify urinary biomarkers during acute kidney injury that predict progression to chronic kidney disease

Jennifer R. Charlton, Teng Li, Teresa Wu, Kimberly deRonde, Yanzhe Xu, Edwin J. Baldelomar, Kevin M. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: A significant barrier to biomarker development in the field of acute kidney injury (AKI) is the use of kidney function to identify candidates. Progress in imaging technology makes it possible to detect early structural changes prior to a decline in kidney function. Early identification of those who will advance to chronic kidney disease (CKD) would allow for the initiation of interventions to halt progression. The goal of this study was to use a structural phenotype defined by magnetic resonance imaging and histology to advance biomarker discovery during the transition from AKI to CKD. Methods: Urine was collected and analyzed from adult C57Bl/6 male mice at four days and 12 weeks after folic acid-induced AKI. Mice were euthanized 12 weeks after AKI and structural metrics were obtained from cationic ferritin-enhanced-MRI (CFE-MRI) and histologic assessment. The fraction of proximal tubules, number of atubular glomeruli (ATG), and area of scarring were measured histologically. The correlation between the urinary biomarkers at the AKI or CKD and CFE-MRI derived features was determined, alone or in combination with the histologic features, using principal components. Results: Using principal components derived from structural features, twelve urinary proteins were identified at the time of AKI that predicted structural changes 12 weeks after injury. The raw and normalized urinary concentrations of IGFBP-3 and TNFRII strongly correlated to the structural findings from histology and CFE-MRI. Urinary fractalkine concentration at the time of CKD correlated with structural findings of CKD. Conclusions: We have used structural features to identify several candidate urinary proteins that predict whole kidney pathologic features during the transition from AKI to CKD, including IGFBP-3, TNFRII, and fractalkine. In future work, these biomarkers must be corroborated in patient cohorts to determine their suitability to predict CKD after AKI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number178
JournalBMC Nephrology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Biomarker
  • Folic acid nephropathy
  • Nephron number

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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