THURSDAY, Jan. 19, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Measuring levels of a key protein can predict long-term risk of progressive loss of kidney function in people with mild to moderate kidney disease, Austrian researchers report.
"Patients with primary kidney disease would like to know whether they are at risk of disease progression, which often results in renal replacement therapy such as hemodialysis and/or kidney transplantation," study co-author Dr. Florian Kronenberg, of Innsbruck Medical University, said in a prepared statement.
"Our results show that [the protein] apoA-IV is an excellent predictor for the progression of kidney disease, adding important and additional information besides the exact determination of kidney function," Kronenberg said.
The study included 177 people with mild to moderate kidney disease who were followed for seven years. At the start of the study, their blood lipid levels were checked, including levels of apolipoproteins, which carry lipids (including cholesterol) through the blood.
As reported in the February issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, about 37 percent of the study participants experienced a decline in kidney function over the seven-year follow-up period. But for patients with raised apoA-IV levels, the average time to progressive kidney disease was 54 months, compared to 70 months for those with lower apoA-IV levels, the study said.
The results suggest that measuring apoA-IV levels helps predict kidney-disease patients' long-term risk of progressive kidney disease, independent of other factors, such as the patient's initial level of kidney function.
"ApoA-IV is not only an early marker of renal impairment, but also predicts whether the kidney function will worsen during the upcoming years," Kronenberg said.
The U.S. National Kidney Disease Education Program has more about kidney disease.