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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 638413, 11 pages
Review Article

Biomarkers for Lupus Nephritis: A Critical Appraisal

Department of Medicine & Geriatrics, Tuen Mun Hospital and Center for Assessment and Treatment of Rheumatic Diseases, Pok Oi Hospital, Hong Kong

Received 5 January 2010; Accepted 22 March 2010

Academic Editor: Charles Via

Copyright © 2010 Chi Chiu Mok. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Kidney disease is one of the most serious manifestations of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Despite the improvement in the medical care of SLE in the past two decades, the prognosis of lupus nephritis remains unsatisfactory. Besides exploring more effective but less toxic treatment modalities that will further improve the remission rate, early detection and treatment of renal activity may spare patients from intensive immunosuppressive therapies and reduce renal damage. Conventional clinical parameters such as creatinine clearance, proteinuria, urine sediments, anti-dsDNA, and complement levels are not sensitive or specific enough for detecting ongoing disease activity in the lupus kidneys and early relapse of nephritis. Thus, novel biomarkers are necessary to enhance the diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity of lupus renal disease, prognostic stratification, monitoring of treatment response, and detection of early renal flares. This paper reviews promising biomarkers that have recently been evaluated in longitudinal studies of lupus nephritis.