Urine proteomics: the present and future of measuring urinary protein components in disease

Barratt, Jonathan; Topham, Peter
August 2007
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;8/14/2007, Vol. 177 Issue 4, p361
Academic Journal
For centuries, physicians have attempted to use the urine for noninvasive assessment of disease. Today, urinalysis, in particular the measurement of proteinuria, underpins the routine assessment of patients with renal disease. More sophisticated methods for assessing specific urinary protein losses have emerged; however, albumin is still the principal urinary protein measured. Changes in the pattern of urinary protein excretion are not necessarily restricted to nephrourological disease; for instance, the appearance of β-human chorionic gonadotropin in the urine of pregnant women is the basis for all commercially available pregnancy kits. Similarly, microalbuminuria is a clinically important marker not only of early diabetic nephropathy but also of concomitant cardiovascular disease. With the emergence of newer technologies, in particular mass spectrometry, it has become possible to study urinary protein excretion in even more detail. A variety of techniques have been used both to characterize the normal complement of urinary proteins and also to identify proteins and peptides that may facilitate earlier detection of disease, improve assessment of prognosis and allow closer monitoring of response to therapy. Such proteomics-based approaches hold great promise as the basis for new diagnostic tests and as the means to better understand disease pathogenesis. In this review, we summarize the currently available methods for urinary protein analysis and describe the newer approaches being taken to identify urinary biomarkers.


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