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Clin Chim Acta. 2013 Jun 5;421:236-42. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2013.02.021. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

A linear relationship between the ex-vivo sodium mediated expression of two sodium regulatory pathways as a surrogate marker of salt sensitivity of blood pressure in exfoliated human renal proximal tubule cells: the virtual renal biopsy.

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University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, United States.



Salt sensitivity (SS) of blood pressure (BP) affects 25% of adults, shares comorbidity with hypertension, and has no convenient diagnostic test. We tested the hypothesis that urine-derived exfoliated renal proximal tubule cells (RPTCs) could diagnose the degree of an individual's SS of BP.


Subjects were selected who had their SS of BP determined 5 y prior to this study (salt-sensitive: ≥7 mm Hg increase in mean arterial pressure (MAP) following transition from a random weekly diet of low (10 mmol/day) to high (300 mmol/day) sodium (Na(+)) intake, N=4; inverse salt-sensitive (ISS): ≥7 mm Hg increase in MAP transitioning from a high to low Na(+) diet, N=3, and salt-resistant (SR): <7 mm Hg change in MAP transitioned on either diet, N=5). RPTC responses to 2 independent Na(+) transport pathways were measured.


There was a negative correlation between the degree of SS and dopamine-1 receptor (D1R) plasma membrane recruitment (y=-0.0107x+0.68 relative fluorescent units (RFU), R(2)=0.88, N=12, P<0.0001) and angiotensin II-stimulated intracellular Ca(++) (y=-0.0016x+0.0336, R(2)=0.7112, P<0.001, N=10) concentration over baseline.


Isolating RPTCs from urine provides a personalized cell-based diagnostic test of SS index that offers advantages over a 2-week controlled diet with respect to cost and patient compliance. Furthermore, the linear relationship between the change in MAP and response to 2 Na(+) regulatory pathways suggests that an individual's RPTC response to intracellular Na(+) is personalized and predictive.

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