A novel urinary biomarker protein panel to identify children with ureteropelvic junction obstruction – A pilot study

Charan Kumar V. Devarakonda, Emily R. Shearier, Chaoran Hu, James Grady, Jeremy L. Balsbaugh, John H. Makari, Fernando A. Ferrer, Linda H. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction and objective: Reliable urinary biomarker proteins would be invaluable in identifying children with ureteropelvic junction obstruction (UPJO) as the existing biomarker proteins are inconsistent in their predictive ability. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify consistent and reliable urinary biomarker proteins in children with UPJO. Methods: To identify candidate biomarker proteins, total protein from age-restricted (<2 years) and sex-matched (males) control (n = 22) and UPJO (n = 21) urine samples was analyzed by mass spectrometry. Proteins that were preferentially identified in UPJO samples were selected (2-step process) and ranked according to their diagnostic odds ratio value. The top ten proteins with highest odds ratio values were selected and tested individually by ELISA. The total amount of each protein was normalized to urine creatinine and the median with interquartile ranges for control and UPJO samples was determined. Additionally, fold change (UPJO/Control) of medians of the final panel of 5 proteins was also determined. Finally, we calculated the average + 3(SD) and average + 4(SD) values of each of the 5 proteins in the control samples and used it as an arbitrary cutoff to classify individual control and UPJO samples. Results: In the first step of our selection process, we identified 171 proteins in UPJO samples that were not detected in the majority of the control samples (16/22 samples, or 72.7%). Of the 171 proteins, only 50 proteins were detected in at least 11/21 (52.4%) of the UPJO samples and hence were selected in the second step. Subsequently, these 50 proteins were ranked according to the odds ratio value and the top 10 ranked proteins were validated by ELISA. Five of the 10 proteins – prostaglandin-reductase-1, ficolin-2, nicotinate-nucleotide pyrophosphorylase [carboxylating], immunoglobulin superfamily-containing leucine-rich-repeat-protein and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 were present at higher levels in the UPJO samples (fold-change of the median protein concentrations ranging from 2.9 to 9.4) and emerged as a panel of biomarkers to identify obstructive uropathy. Finally, the order of prevalence of the 5 proteins in UPJO samples is PTGR1>FCN2>QPRT>ISLR>VCAM1. Conclusion: In summary, this unique screening strategy led to the identification of previously unknown biomarker proteins that when screened collectively, may reliably distinguish between obstructed vs. non-obstructed infants and may prove useful in identifying informative biomarker panels for biological samples from many diseases.[Formula

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466.e1-466.e9
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Biomarker
  • Ficolin-2 (FCN2)
  • Immunoglobulin superfamily containing leucine-rich repeat protein (ISLR)
  • Nicotinate-nucleotide pyrophosphorylase [carboxylating] (QPRT)
  • Prostaglandin reductase 1 (PTGR1)
  • Ureteropelvic junction obstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Urology


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