Tubular toxicity of proteinuria and the progression of chronic kidney disease

Zhalaliddin Makhammajanov, Abduzhappar Gaipov, Askhat Myngbay, Rostislav Bukasov, Mohamad Aljofan, Mehmet Kanbay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Proteinuria is a well-established biomarker of chronic kidney disease and a risk predictor of associated disease outcomes. Proteinuria is also a driver of chronic kidney disease progression toward end-stage kidney disease. Toxic effects of filtered proteins on proximal tubular epithelial cells enhance tubular atrophy and interstitial fibrosis. The extent of protein toxicity and the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for tubular injury during proteinuria remain unclear. Nevertheless, albumin elicits its toxic effects when degraded and reabsorbed by proximal tubular epithelial cells. Overall, healthy kidneys excrete over 1000 individual proteins, which may be potentially harmful to proximal tubular epithelial cells when filtered and/or reabsorbed in excess. Proteinuria can cause kidney damage, inflammation, and fibrosis by increasing reactive oxygen species, autophagy dysfunction, lysosomal membrane permeabilization, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and complement activation. Here we summarize toxic proteins reported in proteinuria and the current understanding of molecular mechanisms of toxicity of proteins on proximal tubular epithelial cells leading to chronic kidney disease progression.


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