Renal function in proteinuric glomerular diseases correlates to the changes in urine IgM but not to the changes in the degree of albuminuria. Background: Albuminuria is believed to correlate to the progression of renal failure in glomerular diseases. Nevertheless, many patients with glomerular disorders maintain their renal function despite persistent albuminuria. In previous studies, we found that the baseline urine excretion of IgM, rather than the degree of albuminuria, predicts the renal outcome in glomerulopathies. In the present study, we examine correlations between changes in the content and in the amount of urine proteins and renal survival during a follow-up time of 3.5 years. Methods: An observational study of a mean of 44 (± 3.6) months was conducted in 37 proteinuric patients (21 males and 16 females) with biopsy-verified primary glomerular disease. The patients were subdivided, according to the findings at the end of the study, into 3 groups, 1 group with decreasing albuminuria (by more than 50%), 1 group with persisting albuminuria and low (< 0.04 mg/mmol creatinine) urinary IgM excretion and 1 group with persisting albuminuria and with high (≥ 0.04 mg/mmol) urinary IgM excretion. Results: All patients that showed remission of albuminuria had also low IgM excretion at the end of the study. All these patients, except 1, maintained their renal function. Patients with persistent albuminuria and high urinary IgM excretion showed a decrease in the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of a mean of 9.6 ml/min/year compared to a mean GFR increase by 1.5 ml/min/year in patients with low IgM excretion and the same degree of albuminuria (p < 0.01). Seven out of the 9 patients in the former group fall in GFR by more than 5 ml/min/year compared to only 1 of the 10 patients in the latter group. Furthermore, the GFR alterations that occurred during follow-up time correlated in a higher degree to the changes in urinary IgM excretion (r = 0.6, p < 0.01) than to the changes in the degree of albuminuria, (r = 0.4, p < 0.05). A stepwise regression analysis indicated that increased urine IgM excretion is a strong predictor of the GFR decline (r = 0.73, p < 0.001). Conclusion: High urinary IgM excretion correlates to decreased GFR in primary glomerular diseases regardless of the degree of albuminuria. In parallel, low urinary IgM excretion indicates beneficial prognosis in these diseases. Since IgM passes the glomerular barrier entirely through large shunts or defects in the glomerular capillary wall, decreased urine content of IgM might be considered as a sign of recovery in the glomerular damage.
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