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Proteins may warn of diabetic kidney disease risk

Levels of a natural compound in blood seem to foreshadow high risk of renal failure

5:59pm, January 19, 2012

A simple blood test might reveal which people with diabetes are most prone to kidney failure, two long-term studies show. An abundance of two compounds better known as culprits in inflammation seems to pinpoint high-risk diabetes patients years before they show outward signs of kidney problems, researchers say.

Both studies linked high levels of proteins called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptors with elevated incidence of kidney disease up to 12 years later. The association showed up in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the researchers report online January 19 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Study leader Andrzej Krolewski, a kidney researcher at Harvard Medical School and the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, says the findings may ultimately improve care for at-risk diabetes patients. “The most immediate application,” says study coauthor Monika Niewczas, a researcher also at Harvard and Joslin, “will be a d

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