D-amino acids could be used as a biomarker to provide information about how chronic kidney disease (CKD) will progress, a study conducted by researchers in the Department of Nephrology at Japan’s Osaka University suggests.
This discovery could help in the treatment and improve the prognosis of chronic kidney disease patients. It may also lead to the development of new CKD therapies.
In the study “Chiral amino acid metabolomics for novel biomarker screening in the prognosis of chronic kidney disease,” published in Scientific Reports, a team of researchers led by Dr. Yoshitaka Isaka searched for biomarkers that could predict how CKD progresses using a technique that helps profile the geometric properties of metabolic amino acids in the body.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They can occur in two geometric forms, the D form or the L form. D-amino acids, the optical isomers of L-amino acids, are found only in trace amounts in humans.
Using a technique called micro-two-dimensional HPLC (2D-HPLC) developed by Dr. Kenji Hamase of the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at Kyushu University, the researchers were able to measure D-amino acids in the blood of CKD patients. They then followed how the disease progressed in this patient population.
They found that 16 out of 21 D-amino acids were present in the blood of CKD patients. In addition, patients who had higher levels in their blood of the two D-amino acids, D-Serine and D-Asparagine, had a four times higher risk of developing end-stage kidney disease.
These results mean that clinicians could use this new method to identify CKD patients who are at a higher risk of developing end-stage kidney disease. This new biomarker can also help select the best treatment for each individual, and develop new therapies for chronic kidney disease.
Doctors could also use D-amino acids to predict whether patients are at risk of developing other diseases associated with chronic kidney disease such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
D-amino acids are increasingly recognized as potential biomarkers for a number of diseases, including kidney disease. Even though they are found in very small amounts in humans, thanks to advances in technology they can be measured with high sensitivity even at very low levels.