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Kidney Int Rep. 2017 Sep;2(5):811-820. doi: 10.1016/j.ekir.2017.03.012.

A Urinary Fragment of Mucin-1 Subunit α Is a Novel Biomarker Associated With Renal Dysfunction in the General Population.

Author information

Studies Coordinating Centre, Research Unit Hypertension and Cardiovascular Epidemiology, KU Leuven Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Program of Cardiovascular Diseases, Centre for Applied Medical Research, University of Navarra, Navarra Institute for Health Research, Pamplona, Spain.
CIBERCV, Carlos III Institute of Health, Madrid, Spain.
Mosaiques Diagnostic and Therapeutics AG, Hannover, Germany.
Research Unit Cardiology, KU Leuven Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Centre for Molecular and Vascular Biology, KU Leuven Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Department of Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, University of Navarra Clinic, Pamplona, Spain.
BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom.
R&D Group VitaK, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.



Sequencing peptides included in the urinary proteome identifies the parent proteins and may reveal mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of chronic kidney disease.


In 805 randomly recruited Flemish individuals (50.8% women; mean age, 51.1 years), we determined the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) from serum creatinine using the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration (CKD-EPI) equation. We categorized eGFR according to the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative guideline. We analyzed 74 sequenced urinary peptides with a detectable signal in more than 95% of participants. Follow-up measurements of eGFR were available in 597 participants.


In multivariable analyses, baseline eGFR decreased (P ≤ 0.022) with urinary fragments of mucin-1 (standardized association size expressed in ml/min/1.73 m2, -4.48), collagen III (-2.84), and fibrinogen (-1.70) and was bi-directionally associated (P ≤ 0.0006) with 2 urinary collagen I fragments (+2.28 and -3.20). The eGFR changes over 5 years (follow-up minus baseline) resulted in consistent estimates (P ≤ 0.025) for mucin-1 (-1.85), collagen (-1.37 to 1.43) and fibrinogen (-1.45) fragments. Relative risk of having or progressing to eGFR <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 was associated with mucin-1. Partial least-squares analysis confirmed mucin-1 as the strongest urinary marker associated with decreased eGFR, with a score of 2.47 compared with 1.80 for a collagen I fragment as the next contender. Mucin-1 predicted eGFR decline to <60 ml/min/1.73 m2 over and above microalbuminuria (P = 0.011) and retained borderline significance (P = 0.05) when baseline eGFR was accounted for.


In the general population, mucin-1 subunit α, an extracellular protein that is shed from renal tubular epithelium, is a novel biomarker associated with renal dysfunction.


collagen; fibrosis; glomerular filtration rate; mucin-1; population science; proteomics

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