17 November 2020
Background: The pathophysiology of renal disease progression in autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) involves not only cystogenesis but also endothelial dysfunction, leading to the activation of inflammatory and fibrotic pathways. This study evaluated the levels of biomarkers related to osmoregulation, immune system activation, and tubular injury in ADPKD patients with impaired or preserved renal function. Methods: This study included 26 ADPKD patients with modestly impaired renal function (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] 45–70 mL/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup>; Group A), 26 age- and sex-matched ADPKD patients with relatively preserved renal function (eGFR >70 mL/min/1.73 m<sup>2</sup>; Group B), and 26 age- and sex-matched controls (Group C). Serum levels of copeptin, the inflammasome nucleotide-binding and oligomerization domain-like receptors pyrin domain-containing protein 3 (NLRP3), and soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) were measured with ELISA techniques. Results: Patients in Group A had higher levels of copeptin (median [interquartile range]: 50.44 [334.85] pg/mL), NLRP3 (5.86 [3.89] ng/mL), and suPAR (390.05 [476.53] pg/mL) compared to patients in Group B (32.38 [58.33], p = 0.042; 2.42 [1.96], p < 0.001; and 313.78 [178.85], p = 0.035, respectively) and Group C (6.75 [6.43]; 1.09 [0.56]; and 198.30 [28.53], respectively; p < 0.001 for all comparisons). Levels of all studied markers were also significantly higher in Group B patients compared to controls ( p < 0.001), despite having similar eGFR. In patients with ADPKD, all studied biomarkers were correlated positively with asymmetric-dimethylarginine (ADMA) and endocan levels, and negatively with eGFR. ADMA and endocan levels were the only parameters independently associated with increased copeptin levels. Conclusions: This study showed that ADPKD patients with impaired and preserved renal function had higher copeptin, NLRP3, and suPAR levels than controls. Such findings support that cystogenesis and inflammation are associated with endothelial dysfunction, even in the early stages of ADKPD.