BACKGROUNDSensitive and specific noninvasive biomarkers for tubulointerstitial injury are lacking, and proteomic techniques provide a powerful tool for biomarker discovery.OBJECTIVEThe aim of this study was to identify novel urinary biomarkers of early tubulointerstitial injury in canine progressive renal disease using both 2-dimensional differential in-gel electrophoresis (2-D DIGE), which identifies individual proteins, and surface-enhanced laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF), which generates protein peak profiles.METHODSUrine was collected from 6 male dogs with X-linked hereditary nephropathy (XLHN) at 2 time points (TP): 1) the onset of overt proteinuria (urine protein:creatinine ratio>2) and 2) the onset of azotemia (creatinine ≥ 1.2 mg/dL); corresponding renal biopsies were analyzed from 3 of the dogs. Urine samples from the 6 dogs were subjected to analysis by 2-D DIGE and SELDI-TOF. Urinary retinol-binding protein (RBP) was evaluated in 25 male dogs with XLHN and normal control dogs by Western blot analysis.RESULTSClinical data and histologic evaluation revealed reduced renal function and increased tubulointerstitial fibrosis at TP 2. A number of urine proteins and protein peaks were differentially present at the 2 time points, with several known biomarkers of renal disease identified in addition to several promising new biomarkers. RBP was first detected in urine approximately 2 months before onset of azotemia (TP 2), but after onset of overt proteinuria, and amounts increased with progression of disease.CONCLUSIONSProteomic techniques were successfully used to identify urinary biomarkers of renal disease in dogs with XLHN. Urinary RBP is a promising biomarker for early detection of tubulointerstitial damage and progression to end-stage renal disease.