Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients with High Levels of Soluble Urokinase Receptor (suPAR) are at Higher Risk for Kidney Injury, Study Suggests

Jan, 2021 - by CMI

According to a new observational study led by the researchers of Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan have reported that COVID-19 patients in hospital exhibit high levels of soluble urokinase receptor (suPAR). SuPAR is an immune-derived pathogenic protein increases risk for kidney injury. Moreover, patients with COVID-19-related kidney injury are at very high risk of death.

Salim Hayek, senior author from Michigan Medicine (University of Michigan) stated, “We don't known exactly why patients with severe COVID-19 have a high rate of kidney injury. It is, however, becoming clearer that a hyperactive immune system plays a major role in the morbidity of COVID-19, including kidney-related complications.”

In this study, researchers included 352 study participants and evaluated soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR) levels in these study participants, when they were admitted in the hospital due to COVID-19 infection.

Researchers observed that one fourth of the study participants developed acute kidney injury during their hospital stay, and exhibited 60% higher median suPAR levels compared to the rest of the participants. Moreover, requirement of needing dialysis also augmented by 20-fold in patients with the highest suPAR levels. Moreover, researchers suggested that median suPAR levels in the hospitalized study participants with severe COVID-19 was around three times more, in comparison to levels in healthy people.

Researchers also suggested that it is vital to identify suPAR levels at hospital admission, which is a major cause of AKI and can aid to identify high risk patients initially, so that preventive treatment, could be provided in time, in order to reduce the risk of AKI, whilst improving COVID-19 outcomes.