FRIDAY, Aug. 7, 2009 (HealthDay News) -- Swedish researchers say that immunoglobulin M (IgM) is a reliable predictor of cardiovascular complications in people with type 1 diabetes who have diabetic nephropathy (DN) -- kidney damage caused by diabetes.
The study included 139 patients who were followed from 1984 to 2007. Those with increased levels of IgM in their urine at the start of the study were about three times more likely to suffer cardiovascular-related death or to progress to end-stage kidney disease.
The study appears in the journal BMC Medicine.
"To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the impact of increased urine IgM excretion on DN disease progression in type 1 diabetes patients," lead researcher Dr. Omran Bakoush of Lund University said in a news release. "We found that those with increased urinary IgM excretion had a higher mortality from cardiovascular causes and higher disease progression rate to end-stage renal disease. This association is largely independent of the level of albuminuria."
Bakoush said the "findings may offer a new approach to manage this rapidly increasing patient population. While measurement of albuminuria is routinely used to evaluate and manage patients with diabetes, increased urine IgM excretion would identify more specifically patients at risk for serious cardiovascular complications (death and renal failure). If increased urine IgM excretion does reflect advanced atherosclerotic vascular disease, clinical trials would be justified to test whether modifying atherosclerotic factors also decrease mortality and incidence of renal failure in diabetic patients with or without IgM-uria."
The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about diabetic nephropathy.