Could urinary kidney injury molecule-1 be a good marker in subclinical acute kidney injury in mild to moderate COVID-19 infection?

Yasar E., ÖZGER H. S., YETER H. H., Yildirim C., Osmanov Z., ÇETİN T. E., ...More

International Urology and Nephrology, vol.54, no.3, pp.627-636, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 54 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11255-021-02937-0
  • Journal Name: International Urology and Nephrology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, Gender Studies Database, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.627-636
  • Keywords: Acute kidney injury, COVID-19, Non-albuminuric proteinuria, Sub-clinical, Urinary kidney injury molecule-1
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose: To evaluate urinary kidney injury molecule-1 (uKIM-1), which is a proximal tubule injury biomarker in subclinical acute kidney injury (AKI) that may occur in COVID-19 infection. Methods: The study included proteinuric (n = 30) and non-proteinuric (n = 30) patients diagnosed with mild/moderate COVID-19 infection between March and September 2020 and healthy individuals as a control group (n = 20). The uKIM-1, serum creatinine, cystatin C, spot urine protein, creatinine, and albumin levels of the patients were evaluated again after an average of 21 days. Results: The median (interquartile range) uKIM-1 level at the time of presentation was 246 (141–347) pg/mL in the proteinuric group, 83 (29–217) pg/mL in the non-proteinuric group, and 55 (21–123) pg/mL in the control group and significantly high in the proteinuric group than the others (p < 0.001). Creatinine and cystatin C were significantly higher in the proteinuric group than in the group without proteinuria, but none of the patients met the KDIGO-AKI criteria. uKIM-1 had a positive correlation with PCR, non-albumin proteinuria, creatinine, cystatin C, CRP, fibrinogen, LDH, and ferritin, and a negative correlation with eGFR and albumin (p < 0.05). In the multivariate regression analysis, non-albumin proteinuria (p = 0.048) and BUN (p = 0.034) were identified as independent factors predicting a high uKIM-1 level. After 21 ± 4 days, proteinuria regressed to normal levels in 20 (67%) patients in the proteinuric group. In addition, the uKIM-1 level, albuminuria, non-albumin proteinuria, and CRP significantly decreased. Conclusions: Our findings support that the kidney is one of the target organs of the COVID-19 and it may cause proximal tubule injury even in patients that do not present with AKI or critical/severe COVID-19 infection.