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Identification of Maltase Glucoamylase as a Biomarker of Acute Kidney Injury in Patients with Cirrhosis



Acute kidney injury (AKI) is a frequent complication of decompensated cirrhosis with increased mortality. Traditional biomarkers such as serum creatinine are not sensitive for detecting injury without functional change. We hypothesize that urinary exosomes potentially carry markers that differentiate the type of kidney injury in cirrhotic patients.


This is a prospective, single-center, and observational study of adult patients with cirrhosis. The patient groups included healthy normal controls, compensated cirrhosis with normal kidney function, decompensated cirrhosis with normal kidney function, and decompensated cirrhosis with AKI. Data were extracted from the electronic health record including etiology of liver disease, MELD score, history of decompensation, Child-Turcotte-Pugh score, history of AKI, and medication exposures. Urine samples were collected at the time of consent. Urine exosome protein content was analyzed, and proteomic data were validated by immunoblotting. Statistical analysis included partial least squares-discriminant analysis coupled with variable importance in projection identification.


Eighteen cirrhotic subjects were enrolled, and six healthy control subjects were extracted from our biorepository. Urine exosomes were isolated, and 1572 proteins were identified. Maltase-glucoamylase was the top discriminating protein confirmed by western blotting.


Patients with cirrhosis and AKI have upregulation of renal brush border disaccharidase, MGAM, in urinary exosomes which may differentiate the type of kidney injury in cirrhosis; however, the clinical significance of this requires further validation.

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