Faculty Member

Comprehensive aptamer-based screening identifies a spectrum of urinary biomarkers of lupus nephritis across ethnicities

Emerging urinary biomarkers continue to show promise in evaluating lupus nephritis (LN). Here, we screen urine from active LN patients for 1129 proteins using an aptamer-based platform, followed by ELISA-validation in two independent cohorts comprised of 127 inactive lupus, 107 active LN, 67 active non-renal lupus patients and 74 healthy controls, of three different ethnicities. Urine proteins that best distinguish active LN from inactive disease are ALCAM, PF-4, properdin, and VCAM-1 among African Americans, sE-selectin, VCAM-1, BFL-1 and Hemopexin among Caucasians, and ALCAM, VCAM-1, TFPI and PF-4 among Asians. Most of these correlate significantly with disease activity indices in the respective ethnic groups, and surpass conventional metrics in identifying active LN, with better sensitivity, and negative/positive predictive values. Several elevated urinary molecules are also expressed within the kidneys in LN, based on single-cell RNA-seq analysis. Longitudinal studies are warranted to assess the utility of these biomarkers in tracking lupus nephritis.