Proteinuria

Squires, Richard, and Adams, Larry G. (2009) Proteinuria. In: UNSPECIFIED, (ed.) Vetstream FELIS. Vetstream, UK, pp. 1-5.

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Abstract

• Definition: an abnormally increased concentration of protein (often albumin) in urine.

• Causes: proteinuria may be preglomerular, glomerular or post glomerular. Glomerular proteinuria is the most important kind. In preglomerular proteinuria , the kidneys are presented with an abnormally increased concentration of small proteins in the blood, which are smaller than the effective the glomerular filtration barrier and exceeds the ability of the renal tubules to reabsorb it. This protein may, for example, be free hemoglobin, myoglobin or, in patients with lymphoma or multiple myeloma, immunoglobulin light chains (Bence-Jones protein). In glomerular proteinuria , the glomeruli are damaged and an abnormally large amount of protein leaks through an excessively permeable glomerular filter into the urinary space. For example, in glomerulonephritis, antigen-antibody complexes may be deposited, or may form, in the glomerular capillary basement membranes, damaging them. Damage to the filtration barrier leads to glomerular proteinuria, sometimes very severe. Glomerular amyloidosis is another important cause of severe glomerular proteinuria. In post glomerular proteinuria , tissue damage or inflammation beyond the glomeruli is responsible for the increased urinary protein concentration. For example, bacterial urinary tract infection (upper or lower) can lead to passage of proteinaceous inflammatory exudate in the urine. Damaged renal tubules may fail to reabsorb filtered protein, leading to tubular proteinuria . Various endocrinopathies, and a variety of other environmental and metabolic factors can lead to benign proteinuria which is usually mild and may be reversible with treatment of the underlying cause.

• Severity: proteinuria may be overt (detectable using conventional urine dipsticks) or less severe. Microalbuminuria is the term used to describe an abnormally large amount of albumin in the urine, but not enough to be detectable using a conventional dipstick. It has recently been suggested that microalbuminuria may be a useful early marker for a wide variety of systemic disease states, particularly inflammatory and neoplastic disorders. Massive (or heavy) proteinuria may lead to the nephrotic syndrome (the combination of heavy proteinuria and consequent hypoalbuminemia, hypercholesterolemia and edema or ascites).

• Signs: preglomerular proteinuria may be associated with discolored urine and clinical signs of the underlying disease. Post glomerular proteinuria is usually associated with abnormally increased frequency of urination, straining, and, again, discolored urine (typically pink or red). Often glomerular proteinuria causes no clinical signs until it is severe. Then it may lead to hypoalbuminemia and sometimes to subcutaneous edema (eg of the distal limbs). Progressive loss of damaged glomeruli may eventually lead to renal failure (with polydipsia/polyuria, inappetence, and vomiting).

• Diagnosis: urine analysis, including sediment examination, urine protein quantitation, serum chemistry profile, histopathologic examination of a kidney biopsy. In preglomerular proteinuria there will be an excessive amount of a protein in the blood. In post glomerular proteinuria there will usually be evidence in the urine sediment of urinary tract inflammation or hemorrhage. In glomerular proteinuria, there will be excessive albumin in the urine, which may be extreme.

• Treatment: categorize the proteinuria and then eliminate the underlying cause, if possible. Glomerular proteinuria may be managed using a renal diet, low-dose aspirin, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition, ± immunosuppressant / immunomodulator therapy.

• Prognosis: very variable depending upon the underlying cause and the severity. Some cases with glomerular proteinuria progress rapidly despite therapy, others remain stable for prolonged periods. If complicated by thromboembolism (eg pulmonary or caudal aortic) or advanced renal failure, prognosis is poor.

Item ID: 18763
Item Type: Book Chapter (Reference)
Additional Information:

This is a Vetstream FELIS peer reviewed journal article.

ISSN: 1757-8264
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2011 01:31
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070706 Veterinary Medicine @ 100%
SEO Codes: 86 MANUFACTURING > 8609 Veterinary Pharmaceutical Products > 860902 Veterinary Diagnostics @ 50%
86 MANUFACTURING > 8609 Veterinary Pharmaceutical Products > 860903 Veterinary Pharmaceutical Treatments (e.g. Antibiotics) @ 50%
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