Early postoperative C-terminal agrin fragment (CAF) serum levels predict graft loss and proteinuria in renal transplant recipients

Dominik Steubl, Anna Vogel, Stefan Hettwer, Susanne Tholen, Peter B Luppa, Ina-Christine Rondak, Lutz Renders, Uwe Heemann, Marcel Roos
Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine: CCLM 2016, 54 (1): 63-72

BACKGROUND: C-terminal agrin fragment (CAF), cleavage product of agrin, was previously correlated with kidney function in renal transplant patients. This article studies the predictive value of CAF for long-term outcomes in renal transplant recipients.

METHODS: In this observational cohort study, serum CAF, creatinine and blood-urea-nitrogen (BUN) concentrations and eGFR (CKD-EPI) were assessed 1-3 months after transplantation in 105 patients undergoing kidney transplantation. Cox regression models were used to analyse the predictive value of all parameters concerning all-cause mortality (ACM), graft loss (GL), doubling of creatinine/proteinuria at the end of follow-up.

RESULTS: Median follow-up time was 3.1 years. The mean concentrations were 191.9±152.4 pM for CAF, 176±96.8 μmol/L for creatinine, 12.6±6.2 mmol/L for BUN and 44.9±21.2 mL/min for CKD-EPI formula, respectively. In univariate analysis CAF and BUN concentrations predicted ACM (CAF: HR=1.003, 1.1-fold risk, p=0.043; BUN: HR=1.037, 1.3-fold risk, p=0.006). Concerning GL, CAF (HR=1.006, 3.1-fold risk, p<0.001), creatinine (HR=2.396, 2.6-fold risk, p<0.001), BUN (HR=1.048, 1.7-fold risk, p=0.001) and eGFR (CKD-EPI) (HR=0.941, 0.45-fold risk reduction, p=0.006) showed a statistically significant association. CAF was the only parameter significantly associated with doubling of proteinuria (HR=1.005, 1.7-fold risk, p<0.001). In multiple regression analysis (CAF only) the association remained significant for GL and doubling of proteinuria but not ACM.

CONCLUSIONS: Early postoperative serum CAF appears to be a useful tool for the assessment of long-term outcomes in renal transplant recipients. Most importantly it represents a promising predictor for the development of proteinuria.

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