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Toxicol Lett. 1989 Mar;46(1-3):13-29.

Preclinical detection of nephrotoxicity: description of the tests and appraisal of their health significance.

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  • 1Unité de Toxicologie Industrielle et Médecine du Travail, Université Catholique de Louvain, Bruxelles, Belgium.


The prevention of renal diseases induced by chemicals requires the use of tests with which adverse renal effects can be detected at a stage when removal from exposure to the offending agent(s) may lead to complete recovery or may at least prevent an accelerated decline in renal function. The screening tests used in clinical medicine for assessing the functional integrity of the kidney are not sufficiently sensitive to attain this objective. In this review, we describe the tests currently available for detecting incipient renal damage and attempt to assess their health significance. A minimal battery of tests is recommended for the detection of groups in industry or in the general population who are at risk. If an increased prevalence of abnormal values for these parameters is found repeatedly in a population, efforts should be made to identify the causal agent(s) and, if possible, to reduce the exposure. Follow-up examinations of subjects identified in this way are also indicated, in order to define the predictive value of the detected changes better.

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