OBJECTIVE: To screen for the presence of biomarkers involved in tubular injury and kidney damage in children with urolithiasis (RS), and to validate these proteins by ELISA.
METHODS: Prospective-controlled pilot study of children with urolithiasis and their age- and gender-matched controls (HC). Initial screening test was done by quantitative proteomic comparison of pooled urine from RS versus HC, using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Proteins of interest were selected using the following criteria: (1) ≥5 spectral counts; (2) ≥2-fold difference in spectral counts; and (3) ≤.05 P value for the Fisher's Exact Test. Validation was performed by ELISA testing. Statistical analysis was performed by Student t-test and Mann-Whitney U test.
RESULTS: Proteomic analysis identified 3 proteins of interest, Cystatin C (CYTC), neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and lysozyme C that were significantly over-represented in RS group versus HC. ELISA analysis revealed significantly increased urinary levels of CYTC and NGAL, and nearly significantly increased urinary levels of lysozyme C in RS group (N = 24) compared to controls (N = 13). Subgroup analysis showed significantly higher urinary levels of CYTC in both hypercalciuria (N = 14) and hypocitraturia (N = 10) versus HC (P <.05).
CONCLUSION: Children with urolithiasis showed significant increase in urinary CYTC and NGAL irrespective of their normal serum creatinine. These biomarkers indicate tubular injury and early kidney damage and represent valid tools for early screening when traditional tests are normal.