Environmental low-dose melamine exposure has been associated with urolithiasis risk in adults, but it is unclear if this exposure can cause early renal damage. This cross-sectional study investigated the association of this exposure and early renal damage in patients with calcium urolithiasis. We recruited patients diagnosed with upper urinary tract calcium urolithiasis from three hospitals in southwestern Taiwan between November 2010 and January 2015. All patients completed a structured questionnaire and provided one-spot urine samples for the measurement of melamine level and markers of early renal injury, including N-acetyl b-d-glucosaminidase (NAG), β2-microglobulin (β2-MG), and microalbumin. We used urinary melamine levels as an indicator of environmental melamine exposure. A total of 309 patients (mean age of 54.7 ± 12.8 years) were studied. Median urinary melamine level (μg/mmol Cr) was 1.26 (interquartile range 0.48–3.29). A significant and positive correlation was found between urinary melamine concentration and urinary NAG levels (Spearman correlation coefficient, r = 0.157, p = 0.006, n = 309). With urinary melamine levels categorized into quartiles, multivariate regression results showed the same relationship, particularly in those with first stone episode. In this group, patients with the highest quartile of urinary melamine concentration had a 3.95-fold risk (95% confidence interval = 1.43–10.94) of high NAG levels (dichotomized by median), compared to the lowest quartile after adjustment. No association was found between urinary melamine concentration and urinary microalbumin levels. In conclusion, urinary melamine is significantly associated with urinary marker of early renal tubular injury, NAG, in urolithiasis patients, especially ones with first stone episode.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2017
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