Objective: Studies have shown that podocyturia, i.e., urinary loss of viable podocytes (glomerular epithelial cells), is associated with proteinuria in preeclampsia. We postulated that urinary podocyte loss may persist after preeclamptic pregnancies, thus resulting in renal injury. This may lead to future chronic renal injury. In addition, we compared the postpartum levels of the angiogenic factors, which previously have been associated with preeclampsia, between normotensive versus preeclamptic pregnancies. Study Design: The diagnosis of preeclampsia was confirmed using standard clinical criteria. Random blood and urine samples were obtained within 24 hours prior to delivery and 5 to 8 weeks postpartum. Urine sediments were cultured for 24 hours to select for viable cells and staining for podocin was used to identify podocytes. Serum samples were analyzed for the levels of angiogenic markers using ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) methodology. Results: At delivery, preeclamptic patients (n = 10) had significantly higher proteinuria (p = 0.006) and podocyturia (p < 0.001) than normotensive pregnant patients (n = 18). Postpartum proteinuria was similar between these two groups (p = 0.37), while podocyturia was present in 3 of 10 women with preeclampsia and in none of the normotensive controls (p = 0.037). Angiogenic marker levels, including placental growth factor, soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor fms-like tyrosine kinase receptor-1 and endoglin, were not significantly different between women with preeclampsia and women with a normotensive pregnancy, either at delivery or postpartum. Conclusion: Persistent urinary podocyte loss after preecl amptic pregnancies may constitute a marker of ongoing, subclinical renal injury. © 2014 White et al.
White, W. M., Garrett, A. T., Craici, I. M., Wagner, S. J., Fitz-Gibbon, P. D., Butters, K. A., … Garovic, V. D. (2014). Persistent urinary podocyte loss following preeclampsia may reflect subclinical renal injury. PLoS ONE, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0092693