NMR and MS urinary metabolic phenotyping in kidney diseases is fit-for-purpose in the presence of a protease inhibitor†
Nephrotic syndrome with idiopathic membranous nephropathy as a major contributor, is characterized by proteinuria, hypoalbuminemia and oedema. Diagnosis is based on renal biopsy and the condition is treated using immunosuppressive drugs; however nephrotic syndrome treatment efficacy varies among patients. Multi-omic urine analyses can discover new markers of nephrotic syndrome that can be used to develop personalized treatments. For proteomics, a protease inhibitor (PI) is sometimes added at sample collection to conserve proteins but its impact on urine metabolic phenotyping needs to be evaluated. Urine from controls (n = 4) and idiopathic membranous nephropathy (iMN) patients (n = 6) were collected with and without PI addition and analysed using 1H NMR spectroscopy and UPLC-MS. PI-related data features were observed in the 1H NMR spectra but their removal followed by a median fold change normalisation, eliminated the PI contribution. PI-related metabolites in UPLC-MS data had limited effect on metabolic patterns specific to iMN. When using an appropriate data processing pipeline, PI-containing urine samples are appropriate for 1H NMR and MS metabolic profiling of patients with nephrotic syndrome.