(RxWiki News) As kidney disease gets worse, patients can develop serious health problems, like kidney failure. If doctors and patients know that disease is progressing, they can take steps to stop dangerous or deadly problems.
Rising levels of certain proteins in the blood may be signs that IgA nephropathy (a common type of kidney disease) is getting worse.
"Work with your doctor to control kidney diseases."
IgA nephropathy happens when an infection-fighting protein called IgA1 changes and moves into the kidneys. The immune system then attacks the IgA1 molecules, which causes blood and protein to leak into the urine. Over time, this process can lead to high blood pressure and kidney failure.
Francois Berthoux, MD, of University Hospital of Saint-Etienne in France, and colleagues wanted to gain a better understanding of this common kidney disease. So, they took blood samples from patients with IgA nephropathy and compared them to blood samples from people without the disease.
They found that blood levels of both IgA1 and the immune system antibodies that attack IgA1 increased as patients' disease became worse.
In addition, patients with the highest levels of IgA1-fighting antibodies had the highest risk of needing dialysis because of kidney failure. These patients also had the highest risk of early death.
These findings eventually could lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of this common kidney disease.
Dr. Berthoux pointed out that this study - which included only 97 patients with IgA nephropathy and 60 people without the disease - is only a first step. Future research should look at how different treatments affect levels of IgA1 and the antibody response against it.
The study was published August 16 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.