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New Kidney Biomarker to Signal Lupus

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  • Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease which affects the joints, skin, heart, kidneys and lungs
  • Scientists explore new kidney biomarkers to track lupus progression and its complications
  • Urinary epidermal growth factor shows promising indication to know lupus severity and progression

New Kidney Biomarker to Signal Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease which affects the skin, joints and other organs. Kidney biomarkers are used to track lupus progression and its complications, finds a study from the University of Michigan.

The research study was presented at the American Society of Nephrology's Kidney Week 2016 meeting.


Emily Somers, Ph.D., Sc.M., associate professor of internal medicine (rheumatology), environmental health sciences and obstetrics and gynecology, University of Michigan, said, "Lupus patients have a high risk of kidney involvement, which can lead to end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis or transplant."

"In addition, there is a great need for biomarkers to detect early kidney involvement and to monitor progression."

Lupus is considered to be a chronic inflammatory disease which occurs when the immune system of the body attacks its own tissues and organs. Lupus can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, heart and lungs.

Somers said, "Lupus is a disease that predominantly affects women, often striking at the prime of life."

The Michigan Lupus Epidemiology and Surveillance (MILES) program includes a biorepository registry (collection of biological materials for further investigation) of 650 lupus patients.

"Through the MILES Program, we previously showed that for black women, who are disproportionately affected by lupus, their risk of lupus is highest in their 20s. Forty percent of black females with lupus have kidney involvement, and 15 percent have end-stage renal disease."

Somers along with Wenjun Ju, Ph.D., associate research scientist and Matthias Kretzier, M.D., Professor of Nephrology, measured the urinary epidermal growth factor in lupus patients.

The researchers have already proved that the urinary epidermal growth factor to be a promising biomarker for estimating kidney disease progression.

Epidermal growth factor is a factor that binds to the receptor and stimulates cell growth, proliferation and differentiation. It is found in urine, saliva, plasma and milk.

The research team found that the decrease in the epidermal growth factor is an indicator of reduced kidney function in chronic kidney disease patients.

The study findings showed that the levels of the urinary epidermal growth factor of 394 lupus patients were able to show improved ability in determining kidney functions when compared to other markers like protein- to- creatinine ratio.

The urinary epidermal growth factor was also able to represent the lupus damage with a global score.

The author concluded that validating the biomarker will help to know lupus severity and progression. This would help to enhance and identify the patients who are affected with lupus and reduce its complications.

Facts on Lupus
  • Lupus is not communicable.
  • Around 5 million people in the world have some form of lupus.
  • Lupus patients have an overactive immune system and is not related to HIV/AIDS.
  • Women of childbearing age (15-44) are commonly affected by lupus.
  • Lupus is more prevalent among African Americans and Asians when compared to Caucasian women.
Signs and Symptoms of Lupus
  • Joint pain, stiffness and swelling
  • Weakness and fever
  • Butterfly - shaped rash on the face
  • Skin lesions due to sun exposure
  • Dry eyes
  • Chest pain
  • Head ache
  • Memory loss
  1. What is lupus? - ( http://www.lupus.org/answers/entry/what-is-lupus)
  2. Lupus - ( https://medlineplus.gov/lupus.html )

Source: Medindia

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