BACKGROUND. Assessment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk after acute kidney injury (AKI) is based on limited markers primarily reflecting glomerular function. We evaluated markers of cell integrity (EGF) and inflammation (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, MCP-1) for predicting longterm kidney outcomes after cardiac surgery. METHODS. We measured EGF and MCP-1 in postoperative urine samples from 865 adults who underwent cardiac surgery at 2 sites in Canada and the United States and assessed EGF and MCP-1's associations with the composite outcome of CKD incidence or progression. We used single-cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq) of AKI patient biopsies to perform transcriptomic analysis of programs corregulated with the associated genes. RESULTS. Over a median (IQR) follow-up of 5.8 (4.2-7.1) years, 266 (30.8%) patients developed the composite CKD outcome. Postoperatively, higher levels of urinary EGF were protective and higher levels of MCP-1 were associated with the composite CKD outcome (adjusted HR 0.83, 95% CI 0.73-0.95 and 1.10, 95% CI 1.00-1.21, respectively). Intrarenal scRNA-Seq transcriptomes in patients with AKI-defined cell populations revealed concordant changes in EGF and MCP-1 levels and underlying molecular processes associated with loss of EGF expression and gain of CCL2 (encoding MCP-1) expression. CONCLUSION. Urinary EGF and MCP-1 were each independently associated with CKD after cardiac surgery. These markers may serve as noninvasive indicators of tubular damage, supported by tissue transcriptomes, and provide an opportunity for novel interventions in cardiac surgery.
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