There is currently no available test that predicts the onset of preeclampsia, and current diagnostic methodologies of blood pressure and proteinuria measurement cannot detect the illness in its sub-clinical form. Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered an epithelial cell type (podocyte) present in the urine of patients with preeclampsia, and these cells are present in the urine of patients long before the onset of preeclamptic symptoms.
This technology represents a simple, non-invasive test that detects Renal damage indicating pre-eclampsia in pregnancy.
Stage of Development
A 67 patient retrospective study first demonstrated that urinary podocytes were 100% sensitive and specific in identifying preeclamptic versus healthy patients. A prospective clinical study of 315 patients was subsequently completed and validated the predictive value of the methodology. Podocytes were found in urine prior to 30 weeks gestation for all 15 patients that later developed preeclampsia. Preeclamptic patient samples continue to be collected and evaluated using this methodology. Testing of urinary podocytes as a diagnostic/prognostic biomarker for additional renal conditions is under way and appears promising.
Garovic et al. Urinary podocyte excretion as a marker for preeclampsia. Am J Obstet
Garovic et al. Mass spectrometry as a novel method for detection of podocyturia in preeclampsia. Nephrol Dial Transplant 2012.
Craici et al. Podocyturia predates proteinuria and clinical features of preeclampsia: Longitudinal prospective study. Hypertension 2013 [Epublished ahead of print].