The new age of renal biomarkers: does SDMA solve all of our problems?

Sargent, H J and Elliott, J and Jepson, R E (2020) The new age of renal biomarkers: does SDMA solve all of our problems? Journal of Small Animal Practice. ISSN 0022-4510

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Within clinical small animal practice, diagnosis of both chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injury is common. To assess renal function, measurement of glomerular filtration rate is considered the gold standard. Currently, routine tests of kidney function include surrogate markers of glomerular filtration rate such as serum creatinine, and urea, each with their own limitations, whilst urine protein to creatinine ratio gives an indication of glomerular and tubular handling of protein, and urine specific gravity information about urine concentrating ability by the kidney. These parameters are used together with historical and physical examination data to give a diagnosis of kidney disease following which creatinine, proteinuria and blood pressure are used to stage chronic kidney disease and, together with urine output, grade acute kidney injury according to the International Renal Interest Society. However, there has been much concern that creatinine is insensitive when used to indicate early decline in renal function and this has highlighted the need for additional methods of diagnosing and monitoring these patients, with the potential to allow earlier therapeutic intervention. Symmetric dimethylarginine is a novel biomarker, which has been shown to perform as a surrogate marker of glomerular filtration rate in small animals. This article will review current research on symmetric dimethylarginine and the ways in which it may be utilised in small animal practice; current research supports the use of symmetric dimethylarginine as a screening test for detection of early chronic kidney disease according to International Renal Interest Society guidelines, but further research is required in to the usefulness of symmetric dimethylarginine as a tool for monitoring disease and the effect of non‐renal influences.

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