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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 18;8(6):e66776. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066776. Print 2013.

Renal Cortical Lactate Dehydrogenase: A Useful, Accurate, Quantitative Marker of In Vivo Tubular Injury and Acute Renal Failure.

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  • 1The Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America ; Clinical Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Abstract

Studies of experimental acute kidney injury (AKI) are critically dependent on having precise methods for assessing the extent of tubular cell death. However, the most widely used techniques either provide indirect assessments (e.g., BUN, creatinine), suffer from the need for semi-quantitative grading (renal histology), or reflect the status of residual viable, not the number of lost, renal tubular cells (e.g., NGAL content). Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release is a highly reliable test for assessing degrees of in vitro cell death. However, its utility as an in vivo AKI marker has not been defined. Towards this end, CD-1 mice were subjected to graded renal ischemia (0, 15, 22, 30, 40, or 60 min) or to nephrotoxic (glycerol; maleate) AKI. Sham operated mice, or mice with AKI in the absence of acute tubular necrosis (ureteral obstruction; endotoxemia), served as negative controls. Renal cortical LDH or NGAL levels were assayed 2 or 24 hrs later. Ischemic, glycerol, and maleate-induced AKI were each associated with striking, steep, inverse correlations (r, -0.89) between renal injury severity and renal LDH content. With severe AKI, >65% LDH declines were observed. Corresponding prompt plasma and urinary LDH increases were observed. These observations, coupled with the maintenance of normal cortical LDH mRNA levels, indicated the renal LDH efflux, not decreased LDH synthesis, caused the falling cortical LDH levels. Renal LDH content was well maintained with sham surgery, ureteral obstruction or endotoxemic AKI. In contrast to LDH, renal cortical NGAL levels did not correlate with AKI severity. In sum, the above results indicate that renal cortical LDH assay is a highly accurate quantitative technique for gauging the extent of experimental acute ischemic and toxic renal injury. That it avoids the limitations of more traditional AKI markers implies great potential utility in experimental studies that require precise quantitation of tubule cell death.

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