Early detection is critical in prevention and treatment of kidney disease. However currently clinical laboratory and histopathological tests do not provide region-specific and accurate biomarkers for early detection of kidney disease. The present study was conducted to identify sensitive biomarkers for early detection and progression of tubulo-interstitial nephropathy in aristolochic acid I-induced rats at weeks 4, 8 and 12. Biomarkers were validated using aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN) rats at week 24, adenine-induced chronic kidney disease (CKD) rats and CKD patients. Compared with control rats, AAN rats showed anemia, increased serum urea and creatinine, progressive renal interstitial fibrosis, activation of nuclear factor-kappa B, and up-regulation of pro-inflammatory, pro-oxidant, and pro-fibrotic proteins at weeks 8 and 12. However, no significant difference was found at week 4. Metabolomics identified 12-ketodeoxycholic acid, taurochenodesoxycholic acid, LPC(15:0) and docosahexaenoic acid as biomarkers for early detection of tubulo-interstitial nephropathy. With prolonging aristolochic acid I exposure, LPE(20:2), cholic acid, chenodeoxycholic acid and LPC(17:0) were identified as biomarkers for progression from early to advanced AAN and lysoPE(22:5), indoxyl sulfate, uric acid and creatinine as biomarkers of advanced AAN. These biomarkers were reversed by treatment of irbesartan and ergone in AAN rats at week 24 and adenine-induced CKD rats. In addition, these biomarkers were also reversed by irbesartan treatment in CKD patients.