Initial validation of a novel protein biomarker panel for active pediatric lupus nephritis
Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic
Lupus nephritis (LN) is among the main determinants of poor prognosis in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The objective of this study was to 1) isolate and identify proteins contained in the LN urinary protein signature (PS) of children with SLE; 2) assess the usefulness of the PS proteins for detecting activity of LN over time. Using surface-enhanced or matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time of flight mass spectrometry, the proteins contained in the LN urinary PS were identified. They were transferrin (Tf), ceruloplasmin (Cp), alpha1-acid-glycoprotein (AGP), lipocalin-type prostaglandin-D synthetase (L-PGDS), albumin, and albumin-related fragments. Serial plasma and urine samples were analyzed using immunonephelometry or ELISA in 98 children with SLE (78% African American) and 30 controls with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. All urinary PS proteins were significantly higher with active vs. inactive LN or in patients without LN (all p < 0.005), and their combined area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.85. As early as 3 mo before a clinical diagnosis of worsening LN, significant increases of urinary Tf, AGP (both p < 0.0001), and L-PGDS (p < 0.01) occurred, indicating that these PS proteins are biomarkers of LN activity and may help anticipate the future course of LN.