Urinary tract obstruction and the subsequent development of hydronephrosis can cause kidney injuries, which results in chronic kidney disease. Although it is important to detect kidney injuries at an early stage, new biomarkers of hydronephrosis have not been identified. In this study, we examined whether vanin-1 could be a potential biomarker for hydronephrosis. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). On day 7 after UUO, when the histopathological renal tubular injuries became obvious, the vanin-1 level in the renal pelvic urine was significantly higher than that in voided urine from sham-operated rats. Furthermore, vanin-1 remained at the same level until day 14. There was no significant difference in the serum vanin-1 level between sham-operated rats and rats with UUO. In the kidney tissue, the mRNA and protein expressions of vanin-1 significantly decreased, whereas there was increased expression of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and Snail-1, which plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of renal fibrosis via epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). These results suggest that vanin-1 in the renal pelvic urine is released from the renal tubular cells of UUO rats and reflects renal tubular injuries at an early stage. Urinary vanin-1 may serve as a candidate biomarker of renal tubular injury due to hydronephrosis.
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