Both glomerular and tubular markers have been used to follow diabetic nephropathy. However, neither albumin nor proximal tubular markers have proven useful in prepubertal diabetes. Hence we studied two markers derived from the distal tubular cells, Tamm-Horsfall protein (THP) and epidermal growth factor (EGF), The urinary excretion of THP and EGF was examined in samples obtained during the first 20 days and 1 year after diagnosis of diabetes in children aged 4-15 years. Fourteen children without and 18 with ketonuria were examined, and 17 age-matched healthy children participated as controls. The excretion rate of EGF was increased at diagnosis, while that of THP was not. After 20 days of treatment the excretion of EGF had normalized, while the excretion of THP was decreased. Similar results were obtained after 1 year. In conclusion, in spite of good metabolic control a reduced excretion of THP persisted for at least 1 year after the diagnosis of diabetes. Whether the finding of reduced excretion of THP has any biological significance awaits further study.
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