Symmetric Dimethylarginine Is a Sensitive Biomarker of Glomerular Injury in Rats
Glomerular filtration rate is the gold-standard method for assessment of renal function but is rarely performed in routine toxicity studies. Standard serum biomarkers of renal function are insensitive and become elevated only with significant loss of organ function. Symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) is a ubiquitous analyte that is freely filtered by the glomerulus and can be detected in serum. It has shown utility for the detection of renal injury in dogs and cats in clinical veterinary practice, but the potential utility of SDMA to detect renal injury in preclinical species or toxicity studies has not been thoroughly investigated. We utilized a well-characterized glomerular toxicant, puromycin aminonucleoside, to induce podocyte injury and subsequent proteinuria in young male Sprague-Dawley rats. At the end of 1 or 2 weeks, blood, urine, and kidney tissue were collected for analysis. One week following a single 50 mg/kg dose, urea nitrogen, creatinine, and albumin mean values were within historical control ranges, while SDMA was increased. Glomerular changes in these animals included periodic acid–Schiff positive globules within podocytes, podocyte hypertrophy by light microscopy, and podocyte degeneration with effacement of foot processes by electron microscopy (EM). Taken together, our data indicate that SDMA may be a useful biomarker for early detection of glomerular toxicities in rats.