Simple Urine Tests May Improve Lupus Nephritis Diagnosis and Monitoring
Lupus nephritis (LN) is characterized by inflammation of the kidneys, and it is one of the most frequent and severe complications of lupus. Additionally, LN can be difficult to diagnose, especially at the early stage. A kidney biopsy – an invasive procedure – remains the gold standard for LN diagnosis and prognosis. Furthermore, current lab tests are unreliable for identifying LN and measuring the kidneys’ response to treatment. That’s why research like this is so important for identifying simple, non-invasive and effective biomarkers to support early diagnosis and effective monitoring of the disease.
In a recent study, researchers examined how different urine sample tests may offer effective and noninvasive ways to diagnose and assess LN in people with lupus. Several types of molecules were found to be elevated in the urine samples from people with LN, and these notably elevated levels also correlated with severity of LN disease activity. However, urine plasmin was determined to be the strongest predictor of kidney function and disease status, suggesting it may be a good biomarker to measure when diagnosing or monitoring LN.
Study investigator and member of the Lupus Foundation of America, Medical-Scientific Advisory Council, Chandra Mohan, MD, PhD explains, “Plasmin is an enzyme that breaks down blood clots. Hence, the present finding also alludes to the importance of blood clotting and clot breakdown in fueling inflammation in the kidneys. Clearly more work needs to be done to understand the related disease mechanism underlying this observation” Learn about how lupus affects the kidney system.