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The authors declare no competing interests.
The pathophysiologic mechanisms classically involved in sickle-cell nephropathy include endothelial dysfunction and vascular occlusion. Arguments demonstrating that ischemia-reperfusion injury-related kidney damage might coincide with vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC) are lacking.
In this prospective study, we sought to determine whether tubular cells and glomerular permeability might be altered during VOC. Urine neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) levels and albumin-excretion rates (AER) of 25 patients were evaluated prospectively during 25 VOC episodes and compared to their steady state (ST) values.
During VOC, white blood-cell counts (WBC) and C-reactive protein (CRP) were significantly higher than at ST but creatinine levels were comparable. Urine NGAL levels were significantly increased during VOC vs ST (P = 0.007) and remained significant when normalized to urine creatinine (P = 0.004), while AER did not change significantly. The higher urine NGAL concentration was not associated with subsequent (24-48 hour) acute kidney injury. Univariate analysis identified no significant correlations between urine NGAL levels and laboratory parameters during VOC.
These results demonstrated that subclinical ischemia-reperfusion tubular injury is common during VOC and highlight the importance of hydroelectrolyte monitoring and correction during VOC.